An app to detect the amount of oxygen in the body from a smartphone
WASHINGTON: A number of conditions, from asthma to Covid-19, require repeated measurements of the presence of oxygen in the blood. Currently, these measurements are taken with pulse oximeters, although this sometimes complicates the test process. can make
In hopes of simplifying the process, scientists have created a smartphone app that can measure blood oxygen levels using the phone’s camera and flash.
Researchers from the University of Washington and the University of California, San Diego, have shown during testing that a smartphone can detect up to 70 percent of blood oxygen levels. This is the minimum amount that a pulse oximeter should be able to detect.
The newly developed method requires the user to place their finger on the smartphone’s camera and flash before taking a video. A deep learning algorithm then detects the oxygen level in the blood using the footage.
The researchers selected six participants between the ages of 20 and 34 to test the application.
Each person wore an oximeter on one finger of their hand and then placed the other finger of the same hand over the smartphone’s camera and flash.
Edward Weng, senior author of the study, said the camera records video. Each time your heart beats, fresh blood flows through the area that is illuminated by the flash.
The camera records how much the blood absorbs the light from the flash in the three measured channels — red, green and blue, he said. The resulting high-level predictions are then fed into a deep learning model.
Over a 15-minute period, each person breathed in an artificial atmosphere of oxygen and nitrogen to gradually lower their oxygen levels.
After which the smartphone accurately marked the oxygen level.