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A mobile app promises to detect a child's ear infections without a doctor's visit


WASHINGTON – A team at the University of Washington has devised a smartphone app which, when used with a paper funnel, can detect ear infections in children, helping parents decide if a journey is needed for the doctor.

The app, described in the journal Science Transnational Medicine on Wednesday, plays a sound similar to the mood of birds to a child's ear canal by means of a simple funnel that the parents put together t .

We play for 1.2 seconds and then use the phone mic to listen: if liquids or pigs have accumulated behind the eardrum, in the middle ear, the sound pattern of the echo and returned showing infection.

“The way to think about it is almost like wine glass,” said Shyam Gollakota, head of the laboratory that developed the project.

“And if you tap on the wine glass, you're going to have a different sound depending on the level of fluid in the wine glass.” T

It had a 85 per cent success rate when tested on about a hundred cases and, according to Gollakota, is more accurate than a visual examination by a doctor.

If an infection is found, parents will need to go to a doctor anyway for confirmation and to be prescribed.

Gollakota was similar to its usefulness to one thermometer, which helps people decide whether a visit to a doctor is appropriate.

The ear app is one of a number of ideas being developed by the laboratory at the intersection of mobile and health technology.

The aim is to solve some of the biggest health issues people face today with lower costs.

The Gollakota team has also built another application to detect sleep apnea, and another that alerts relatives or friends of someone taking opioids if they appear to be overdosing.

We hope to get regulatory approval for the ear infections app by the end of the year and get it available in the market by early 2020.

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