The next time you have a persistent cough, you can simply diagnose your illness by coughing into your iPhone!
That is simply what a team of American and Australian scientists are working on.
STAR analytics services, the firm that has been carrying out the research says that coughing is one of the preliminary form of diagnosis that can reveal a lot of things about an illness. For example, one burst of cough is enough for the doctor to study whether there is mucus in your lungs or whether it is a bacterial or viral infection,etc.
Since the diagnosis is primarily with the sound produced with a cough, the scientists say their software can possibly do the doctor's job in this case. The research team which has been partly funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have been testing the effectiveness of the software on several dozens of patients with many more tests in the pipeline to improve the software's reliability.
Telegraph reports that the software works only on a computer at present. However, this can be made into an app for smartphones, including the iPhone in later stages. So, what are the use cases of such an application? The research team believes that people may make use of the software to make a preliminary diagnosis of their cough-related symptoms at the comfort of their homes and make a visit to the doctor only if necessary. But a larger role for such an application can be in the deep interior parts of developing countries where aid workers may use such applicatons in places where there is a paucity of doctors to diagnose diseases like pneumonia.
An iPhone application for this certainly looks like a worthy utility built over the smartphone platform. But can it become really popular? We're skeptical. After all, how many of us would want to work on virus infested touchscreens?