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The future of medical diagnoses may lie in simply spitting on your phone

Posted: , by Charlene S.

The future of medical diagnoses may lie in simply spitting on your phone
When we aren’t feeling well, many of us scurry to the Internet to use online symptom checkers in an attempt to self-diagnose our ailments. While this is more convenient than running to the doctor for every cough and sniffle, many people leave the web fearing they have every possible disease related to their symptoms. Hyun Gyu Park and Yeon Won at the Korea Advanced Institute for Science and Technology think touchscreens can replace lab work, resulting in people being able to run self-diagnostic test right from their phone.

Today’s touchscreens have a much higher sensitivity than what is actually required for most smartphone activities. Park said, “Since these touchscreens can detect very small capacitance changes we thought they could serve as highly sensitive detection platforms for disease biomarkers.

In order to test their theory, Park and Won applied three solutions that contained differing concentrations of DNA from the bacteria that causes chlamydia to a multi-touch display the size of an iPhone screen. What they found was, the touch-sensing electrodes on the screen were able to distinguish between the electric charges of each sample even though they only used a very small amount. While it is not able to identify individual pathogens, they view this test as a successful first step toward achieving their goal.

The biggest hurdle to making this technology a reality is that the software used to eliminate false-touch signals, commonly caused by sweat or moisture, would need to be modified. Harpal Minhas, editor of the journal Lab On A Chip, admitted, “Any changes to current production-line touchscreens would need to demonstrate huge financial benefits before they are implemented."

This isn’t something we expect to see very soon, but it is a fascinating look into the medical possibilities of mobile technology. For those of you that like the idea of quick, private self-diagnoses, but not the idea of spitting or putting other ‘samples’ on your phone, Park also says that he intends to develop a film that can be adhered to the touchscreen for testing because “Nobody wants direct application of bio-samples onto their phone.” We couldn’t agree more.

source: NewScientist via Textually

19 Comments
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posted on 01 Dec 2011, 11:54 3

1. networkdood (Posts: 6250; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)


Better have insurance for your phone.

posted on 01 Dec 2011, 16:46

11. quakan (Posts: 1141; Member since: 02 Mar 2011)


right, but at least you won't have to worry about someone asking to use your gross germy phone.

posted on 01 Dec 2011, 11:56 2

2. jdrevolution (Posts: 87; Member since: 07 Oct 2011)


Yea, I don't think I'd want to spit on my phone and then not have it work later. :\ But hopefully they'd create some sort of protectant with the cool disease detector.

posted on 01 Dec 2011, 22:55

16. ledbetterp3 (Posts: 466; Member since: 31 Aug 2011)


Ehh, I jizz on my phone all the time and it works fine, I doubt spit will hurt it. Haha go ahead, flag me...

posted on 01 Dec 2011, 12:47

3. mozes316 (Posts: 142; Member since: 30 Sep 2011)


God forbid you do have something and someone needs to use your phone right after for an emergency...

Now where are the comments about how people would love to spit on an iPhone and/or Android? lol

posted on 01 Dec 2011, 13:13 8

4. PimpStrong (Posts: 310; Member since: 25 Jul 2011)


I'm gonna spit on the next iPhone I see.

posted on 01 Dec 2011, 13:41 4

5. tigermcm (Posts: 670; Member since: 02 Sep 2009)


LMAO that was a good one

posted on 03 Dec 2011, 00:44 1

19. sudhar131998 (Posts: 63; Member since: 06 Sep 2011)


that's a good one but how ? are you going to buy it?

posted on 01 Dec 2011, 13:42 1

6. tigermcm (Posts: 670; Member since: 02 Sep 2009)


this is GROSS and I would NEVER want to touch ANYONES phone. Everyone's phone will smell in the future if this happens I can just taste that in the future

posted on 01 Dec 2011, 16:27

10. jdrevolution (Posts: 87; Member since: 07 Oct 2011)


I wonder why you can "taste" that in the future. That gives me a bad image of people licking others peoples phones or something.
The furthest I can ever taste the future is if I have cake in the oven.

posted on 01 Dec 2011, 22:23

15. hepresearch (unregistered)


Phones already smell. You do not have to wait for the future... just put the microphone end right up to your nose, and take a big, deep whiff. If you have a non-touchscreen phone, just try the keypad... it will smell even more thanks to all the finger-cheese! LOL!

posted on 01 Dec 2011, 13:53 3

7. jackhammeR (Posts: 1548; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)


I wonder how many users spit on their phones anyway:]

posted on 01 Dec 2011, 15:04

8. NoNeNeoN (Posts: 3; Member since: 19 Oct 2011)


about 85% give or take about 100 people.... *shudder*

posted on 01 Dec 2011, 15:35 2

9. Stuntman (Posts: 707; Member since: 01 Aug 2011)


The next thing you know, they will have an app that analyses urine samples. Just pee on the phone for things like pregnancy tests.

Oh, remind me not to borrow anyone else's touch screen phone ever.

posted on 01 Dec 2011, 18:34 1

12. ghost__uwi (Posts: 175; Member since: 28 Nov 2011)


Am ok if apple comes out with that tech I am going back to black and white phones.

posted on 01 Dec 2011, 19:21

13. rigorimpossible (Posts: 22; Member since: 29 Sep 2011)


Ew!!!...

posted on 01 Dec 2011, 20:18

14. luis_lopez_351 (Posts: 951; Member since: 18 Nov 2010)


It's been proven that most phones are dirtier than a toilet seat, so why trip? Atleast your enzymes will break some of them down, plus there are products called "disinfectants".

posted on 02 Dec 2011, 07:42

17. mobilemike11 (Posts: 16; Member since: 09 Jan 2010)


and Siri pops up saying, "you just gave me herpes!"

posted on 03 Dec 2011, 00:37 1

18. sudhar131998 (Posts: 63; Member since: 06 Sep 2011)


what happeneed to droid razr in the roger's commercial?

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