Thursday, February 28, 2013

uChek, iChek: New iPhone app analyzes urine samples

Uchek should probably be dubbed iChek. The new app allows iPhone users to analyze a urine sample by using the device's camera. It was announced at the TED conference on Wednesday.

Fortunately, the program doesn't rely on the end user urinating on, say, some sensor that is plugged into the device's docking port. Instead, the urine sample is taken the age-old way: the user pees into a cup, dips a color-coded urinalysis strip into the cup, and takes of photo of the results. The app then performs an analysis of the sample based on the strip.

According to MIT entrepreneur Myshkin Ingawale, Uchek can detect up to 25 diseases, including diabetes, urinary tract infections, and pre-clampsia, along with levels of proteins, ketones, glucose, nitrites, urobilinogen, hematuria, and more. A series of 1,200 sample tests showed that the app was, in fact, more accurate than a human at interpreting the results of the color-coded strips.

Ingawale said:
The idea is to get people closer to their own information. I want people to better understand what is going on with their bodies.
The app hasn't made it through the App Store approval process yet, but it's bee submitted. Once published, the app will cost $0.99; users will be able buy a packet of strips and a color-coded user guide for $20.

An Android version is being developed, but because of all the fragmentation among hardware -- and software -- on Android phones, it will take longer to complete, Ingawale said. Cameras and capabilities of the cameras vary widely among the numerous Android handsets.

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