Now, detect ear infections with an app and paper cone
Soon, you'll be able to detect infections in the ear of your kid using an app. A group of researchers is working on a platform that can detect fluid build-up - a common sign of ear infections - when used with a paper cone. The app has already shown promising results in tests but is yet to receive FDA's nod. Here's all about it.
App to detect ear fluids, diagnose infections
Fluid build-up behind the eardrum is a common sign of ear infection, but it is hard to detect it from the naked eye. This is why researchers from the University of Washington have designed an app for the job. It uses the mic and speaker of your phone and a paper cone to check the presence of fluids and confirm the case of infections.
How the app detects fluids
The app, in its current form, sends short pulses of sound, similar to the chirping of a bird, into the ear - by the way of a paper cone, NPR reported. As this sounds echoes in the ear and comes to the tip of the funnel placed at the ear canal, it is picked by the app for analysis and diagnosis.
Then, the app's algorithm comes into play
The echo picked up by the app is analyzed with the help of an algorithm, which compares it with the sound of echo from a healthy ear. If there is a difference, the app confirms the case of fluid build-up.
High rate of success in tests
Just recently, the researchers revealed initial results from the app in a study published in the journal Science Translational Medicine. In the test, the team checked the ears of some 50 kids using the app and found that the platform detected infections with an outstanding 85% accuracy. They say that this is comparable to the results that one would expect from a doctor.
However, there is no word on availability
The app promises an affordable and reliable alternative to the expensive clinical ear checkups people take. However, as of now, there is no word on when it might be available for use. The program, as the NPR report says, is still being evolved and it would need approval from the US Food and Drug Administration before hitting Apple and Google's app stores.