You can use your mobile as an accurate thermometer with the FeverPhone application

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Technology continues to amaze us with its advances, and this time researchers at the University of Washington have developed a revolutionary app called FeverPhone, which allows you to turn your smartphone into an accurate thermometer without requiring any additional hardware. As device manufacturers have struggled to incorporate temperature sensors into smartphones and smartwatches, these researchers have found an innovative solution that could change the way we measure body temperature.

A simple and precise solution

Traditionally, smart wearables have attempted to measure body temperature through additional sensors, but Apple has claimed that this feature is not yet accurate enough to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment. Instead, current devices use temperature measurements to give users a better understanding of their sleep patterns. However, there is still no accurate digital thermometer that can take temperature measurements on demand.

The FeverPhone application emerges as an accessible and precise alternative. Unlike conventional non-contact digital thermometers, this solution does not require additional accessories or hardware upgrades. Smartphones already feature components called thermistors, which are used to measure the device’s internal temperature, including battery temperature, in order to trigger safety precautions and prevent overheating. For this reason, your iPhone may occasionally display a warning that it needs to cool down before it can be used safely.

The working behind FeverPhone

Thermistors, which are also used in high-precision medical thermometers, cannot directly measure the user’s body temperature inside a smartphone. However, the researchers found that they can use them to track the amount of heat energy transferred between the user and the mobile device they are in contact with. To simulate a test subject with a fever, the researchers used a sous-vide cooking machine to heat a plastic bag filled with water and pressed the touch screens of several different smartphones against it, including devices with protective cases and screen protectors. . The built-in thermistor measured how quickly the device heated up during this interaction, and that data was used to train a machine learning model that powers the FeverPhone app, allowing it to estimate the user’s body temperature.

Application Usage and Accuracy

Using the FeverPhone app is quite simple. Users must hold their smartphone by the corners and press its touch screen against their forehead for approximately 90 seconds. This time is considered ideal for enough body heat to be transferred to the device. Since forehead interaction is detected via the touch screen, the device and app know when a temperature measurement is being taken intentionally.

During a clinical trial conducted at the University of Washington School of Medicine Emergency Department, the app was tested by 37 participants, including 16 people with mild fever. The results obtained were compared with readings from an oral thermometer. FeverPhone was able to predict the user’s core body temperature with “an average error of approximately 0.23 degrees Celsius,” which is on par with the accuracy of home-use thermometers, including non-contact options.

The future of FeverPhone

The researchers are currently working on improving the accuracy of the app by expanding the number of smartphone models used to train their machine learning model. Initially, only three different devices were used. However, they are optimistic about the possibility of training the app to work with smartwatches as well, which could be even more effective due to their smaller size, allowing them to warm up faster and allow measurements much shorter than 90. current seconds. While the FeverPhone may never be approved as a medical-grade thermometer, its sufficient accuracy could give users a better idea of ​​when they’re sick and what to do to protect themselves and others.

More information at Gizmodo and at washington.edu.

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Brian Adam
Professional Blogger, V logger, traveler and explorer of new horizons.