Monitoring Diseases via Cell phones and Google Maps

Today I have an awesome technology guest post on monitoring diseases via cell phones and Google maps from the beautiful Alysa Jeff. Enjoy!


You never know what diseases could be lurking.

Most of us have come across or could come across rapid diagnostic tests such as pregnancy tests, blood glucose levels or strep throat tests. Dropping liquid or drops on a strip isn’t the hard part, but the hard part comes in reading out the results. Many times human errors lead to incorrect results, thus becoming a health risk. The masterminds at UCLA have worked to digitize rapid diagnostic tests and come up with a digital universal reader for all rapid diagnostic tests, or RDTS. Using this reader would require no translation of results.

The researchers basically described it as a device known as the RDT-reader attachment that clips onto a cell phone. Weighing 65 grams, the attachment can be clipped onto iPhones and Android-based smartphones. The attachment consists of three LED arrays, two AAA batteries and an inexpensive lens.

Being very efficient in its action, the attachment can read almost any type of diagnostic test available. All the user has to do is insert the RDT strip into the attachment which then converts it into a digital image via the phone’s built in camera.This app can then make use of the input data and determine two things. Firstly, it assesses whether the test is valid or not.Secondly, the RDT attachment tells if the test is positive or negative.

The attachment’s work doesn’t end there; it goes on to transmit the results wirelessly to a server for processing, storage, and mapping via Google Maps to track the spread of certain conditions and diseases around the world over time. The RDT attachment thus works analogous to another app commonly used these days–the spyware app. Just how the RDT attachment transmits results accumulated in the phone online, Blackberry Spy App from companies like Flexispy or Mobistealth do the same. All the information they gather regarding what happens on and through the phone is transferred online for the installer to see.

According to Aydogan Ozcan, a UCLA electrical engineering and bioengineering professor, this information can give many long-term benefits. The advantage of the information transmitted by the RDT attachment is that all this data can be of great use to global health professionals. A trend of infectious disease, where they’re prevalent and risk factors associated with them according to region can all be speculated. Along with that, it can assist policymakers to understand cause-effect relationships at a grand scale for combating infectious diseases.

It was Ozcan who came up with something along these lines in 2009. He basically worked on adapting cell phones to simple biological images via the camera and not a microscope. Ever since, he has developed many cell phone attachments to take use from digital components already present in the device, of course not forgetting cloud-based Monitoring.

If the device happens to make it successfully to the market, it would surely be a blessing for the average citizens. People will be able to see areas where diseases are trending and what precautionary steps they can take. Health professionals can spread awareness; schools can start campaigns before time before the disease becomes a nuisance in the community. Also with data from this app, people can even see whether it is a good idea to go out on a certain day.

Where masterminds are working on GPS devices which will also be able to take down temperate and heart rate readings, advancements like RDT attachments can really increase the diagnosing ability of the average person. The GPS devices for medical use might take some time to implement but with RDT attachment’s, diagnostic tests would definitely become foolproof and more rapid.

About the author:  Alysa Jeff is writer and contributor to update people regaridng all the innovation in the field of Technology, App and Gadget. These days she is Writing for Blackberry Spy Software, to tell people about its features and how these apps are beneficial for people.


Thanks, Alysa, come back again sometime! Awesome post! 

For everyone else, what do you think? Tell me in the comments! 

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Read the last post here: Travel to the Magic Kingdom

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Feature image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos. Click image for photographer portfolio.


  1. That’s pretty awesome that advances in technology have come so far.

    • Mary, technology leaves me astounded so often.

    • Jim, I thought so, too. Amazing what technology can do. Those “masterminds” surely are clever.


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