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Remote diagnosis

Send a smartphone photo of the results off for expert analysis

An ingenious project run by the University of Washington has been awarded $10m to further develop a system which helps rapidly and safely analyse infectious diseases. It's aimed at locations where rich support services are limited, such as in third world countries.

Recognizing the prevalence of smartphones even in such areas, the engineers have come up with a system as easy to use as a pregnancy test. The patient applies a swab to the paper, which is disposable, and waits for about an hour for the pattern to emerge in the form of a set of dots. These identify the problem to the remote analysts when they see them - hence the smartphone photo requirement.

Phone medical assistance

Lead researcher Paul Yager said "There are a lot of cell phones now in the developing world, so you could test and receive a diagnosis in places where there aren't any medical testing facilities."

The project has some impressive backing - it's funded by the Department of Defense's Advanced Research Projects Agency – the same agency that helped launch the Internet.

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