Scientists teamed up with app developers to create a breakthrough software which could diagnose blood disorders much less painstakingly, using a smartphone camera to assess levels of hemoglobin. This protein in red blood cells can be used as a marker for conditions like anemia or kidney injuries, and by analyzing it via smartphone. The least invasive blood test method can be put to high use in developing areas of the world.
The software works essentially by taking data from low-resolution photos and turning them to high-resolution digital spectrum signals. The algorithm was developed by Young Kim doing his research in Purdue University.
“The idea is to get a spectrum of colors using a simple photo,” explains Sang Mok Park. “Even if we had several photos with very similar redness, we can’t clearly see the difference. A spectrum gives us multiple data points, which increases the chances of finding meaningful information highly correlated to blood hemoglobin levels.”
The next goal of this team is to adapt the software app to function on smartphones making the process very simple. The camera can simply be used to take a photo of a person’s inner eyelid, which doctor’s routinely assessed to gauge redness in anemia patients, with the onboard software then handling the rest.