A research team at Michigan State University (MSU) has developed a proof-of-concept iPhone app that can deliver accurate blood pressure readings.
The app, which eliminates the need for special equipment to check blood pressure, leverages the optical and force sensors that are available in smartphones to enable ‘selfies’.
Furthermore, the app utilises the ‘peek and pop’ feature of the iPhone to monitor the user’s blood pressure.
In March this year, the team devised a similar app and hardware combination to be used with smartphones. This technique required an optical sensor and a force sensor integrated into a case that can be attached to the back of the phone.
Users need to turn on the app and hold their phone at heart level while pressing their fingertip against the sensor unit. It was reported that the accuracy of this approach was almost similar to that of arm-cuff devices.
However, the latest app uses sensors incorporated in the smartphones and eliminates the need for the add-on sensor case.
MSU electrical and computer engineering professor Ramakrishna Mukkamala said: “By leveraging optical and force sensors already in smartphones for taking ‘selfies’ and employing ‘peek and pop,’ we’ve invented a practical tool to keep tabs on blood pressure.
“Such ubiquitous blood pressure monitoring may improve hypertension awareness and control rates, and thereby help reduce the incidence of cardiovascular disease and mortality.”
The new app, which is yet to be validated in a standard regulatory test, is expected to be available next year.