Last updated: June 23, 2023, 3:00 PM IST
United States of America (USA)
What if we told you that you don’t need an iPhone or any other expensive phone to use some of the most important health features? Yes, there is now an app that can turn any phone into a thermometer. The researchers at the University of Washington have developed the app they call FeverPhone.
The market already has a slew of wearables, such as the Apple Watch, which has the feature but doesn’t come cheap, meaning the technology is limited to the premium audience. But having an app that can read body temperature means anyone with a smartphone can simply download it and use the feature. The best thing about the app is that you don’t need any special accessory for the feature to work.
The researchers say the phones already have technology that allows them to unlock a thermometer’s functions. The device has a sensor called thermistor that is used to measure the temperature of the phone and battery to prevent overheating. But how did they use the sensor to monitor body temperature? They tested it with a plastic bag filled with water that came into contact with the touchscreen of several phones.
The researchers used this data to train their machine learning model, which helped them develop the FeverPhone app. But the work doesn’t stop there. You need to place the phone’s screen at specific points for the app’s sensor to read the temperature. For best results, the phone should be held on the forehead for about 90 seconds. Once the app was ready for testing, it was used by 37 participants and the temperature measured with an accuracy close to reality.
Since the app is still going through internal testing, we can’t tell if it will get a public release anytime soon. And even if it does, the researchers would certainly need health agency approvals to make it a recognized unit in the market that even medical professionals could vouch for and help people with treatment based on its assessment.