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Washington University Researchers Develops New Smartphone App to Help Diagnose Ear Infections in Kids


Washington University Researchers Develops New Smartphone App to Help Diagnose Ear Infections in Kids


A smartphone is an important gadget used by almost everyone to carry various everyday activities. It’s easy to book a taxi, find a location, share data, capture image, and more but have you heard it to diagnose ear infection? Yes, a new smartphone app will help parents and medical professionals to diagnose ear infections in Kids.

According to Science Translational Medicine report, announced on Wednesday stated, University of Washington Researchers, Seattle have designed a new app for a smartphone that they believe it can help parent and doctors to diagnose ear infections of kids.

The smartphone app needs a paper funnel through which parents can detect fluid formed in the kid’s ear – considered to be one of the symptoms of an ear infection.

The researcher thinks the expensive test can be carried out in a doctor’s office with the help of this smartphone app. The app needs to receive approval from the Food and Drug Administration before making it available to the public domain in the market. Currently, the app is undergoing a testing stage.

There are numerous health-related apps available in the market, but this app stands out from another app due to its unique feature to detect fluid build within the kid’s ear. The app makes use of the phone’s speaker and microphone to diagnose an ear infection.

A graduate student from the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science and Technology at the University of Washington, Seattle, Justin Chan said, in order to detect ear fluid, you only need to use sound.

How the Smartphone Functions

Now, let’s see how the app works-

The first step is an important step and requires a doctor or a parent to cut a piece of paper, fold the paper, and give the shape of funnel to it. Now, place the funnel-shaped paper between the smartphone and the kid’s ear. The funnel works as a path through which the phone sends sound like ‘bird chirping into the kid’s ear. The funnel picks the sound echo and then app analysis the sound echo. If there is fluid beyond the eardrum, the echoes sound is different from those found in a healthy ear. This is instantly noticed in the smartphone by app through an algorithm.

Justin Chang described by taking an example of a wineglass, says that when the wineglass is half full or empty, tapping it, both produce a different sound, and this is what we do with our app.

Testing of the app was carried on over 50 kid; they got their ears checked with this app. Some kids who had gone through planned surgery of the eardrums were included too, and this helped doctors to examine the outcome of the smartphone app. Report of the scientist revealed that 85 percent of the time the app was successful in detecting as compared to other technology that is currently being used in clinics such as tympanogram and others. Kids between the ages of 18 months to 17 years were included for testing.

Justin Chan further says that it’s an easy tool that can be used by parents to find whether their kid has a middle ear infection or no.

The development team is waiting for the license from the US Food and Drug Administration and hopeful of receiving by the end of 2019.

Mary Morgan

Mary Morgan holds a double degree in Journalism and Mass Communication and had experienced with various occupations such as news writer, content editor, reporter, technical analysis and a lot more. But she is passionate for news editing. From last 2 years, she regularly curates news articles for us in a different niche.

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