A team of engineers from the University of Washington have created a new detection app called the HemaApp to detect signs of anaemia using the camera flash on your phone. This form of artificial intelligence could allow patients to diagnose and monitor the blood disorder at home.
Anaemia is a condition that develops when the blood lacks enough haemoglobin or healthy red blood cells and thus the cells in the body do not get enough oxygen. This causes symptoms like fatigue, light headedness or weakness because the organs are not getting enough of what they need to function properly.
The World Health Organisation states that anaemia affects 2 billion people globally and its prevalence is reportedly at 29% in pregnant women, 38% in non-pregnant women and 43% in children.
The HemaApp pairs itself with the phone’s camera flash to analyse the colour of the finger to measure haemoglobin. While exposing the patient’s finger to different wavelengths of light, the app takes a series of videos. It then compares the results from different light levels to detect haemoglobin levels.
Despite its 69% accuracy, study authors say that the HemaApp is not intended to replace blood tests but can be used for initial screenings. More data is being collected by researchers to improve accuracy.