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Smartphones may perform vital tests for seniors

March 26, 2014

Smartphones provide a variety of benefits for seniors, from acting as an easy platform on which they can store all their contacts, to potentially serving as a lifesaving device. Researchers have been testing mobile applications and their ability to help make life easier for older adults. Some independent living facilities have released apps for residents, while other organizations have created those that deliver daily senior health tips. While developers have released technology that can be downloaded to the phone, other companies have made devices to be used on the outside of smartphones to help individuals examine their own physical health.

Screen can conduct blood tests
Researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL) crafted a tool that connects to a person's smartphone screen, then tests blood through the touch​-screen, according to Wired. Developed mainly for patients who are using anticoagulants to prevent blood clots, the device reads blood samples and examines whether the person may be at risk for having blocked arteries. Users place a small, plastic film over the device's glass pane. After placing a drop of blood on the film, an accompanying app tests the deposit. Arthur Quevel, the CEO of EPFL's Qloudlab, told the source that he thought of the idea after his father experienced a health scare.

"My father just had a stroke and I thought the concentration of technology in smartphones/tablets could be useful for medical applications," Quevel said. "This is where I came up with this idea to turn the electric field generated by the touch-screen to perform blood diagnostic testing."

Smartphone case can detect heart rhythms
While some scientists have found a way to manipulate the phone's screen, developers at tech company Azoi crafted a phone case that can read a range of vital signs, according to Medical News Today. Perfect for individuals trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle for seniors, the case can tell a person when their blood pressure is high, where his or her blood oxygen levels stand and the individual's body temperature. Hamish Patel, the founder and CEO of Azoi, explained that the new device, Wello, could be essential for people looking to monitor their health.

"All too often health problems go undetected until they are too late to address," said Patel, as quoted by the source. "We believe that through improved self-awareness of key vitals, technology could very easily reduce the incidence and impact of a wide range of illnesses and diseases."