Researchers Develop New Tool That Measure Lung Function Over A Phone Call

SpiroCall is a new health sensing tool developed by Indian-origin researchers. SpiroCall can accurately measure lung function over a simple phone call made with any phone not just smartphone from anywhere in the world.

The findings could be of special help for people in the developing world who have asthma, cystic fibrosis or other chronic lung diseases know how well their lungs are functioning without visiting a doctor or a clinic, which in some places can take days of travel.

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“We wanted to be able to measure lung function on any type of phone you might encounter around the world smartphones, dumb phones, landlines, pay phones,” said Shwetak Patel, professor at the University of Washington.

“With SpiroCall, you can call a 1-800 number, blow into the phone and use the telephone network to test your lung function,” Patel said.

New Tool Can Help Measure Lung Function Over a Phone Call

The patients take a deep breath in and exhale as hard and fast as they can until they can’t exhale any more. The phone’s microphone senses sound and pressure from that exhalation and sends the data to a central server, which uses machine learning algorithms to convert the data into standard measurements of lung function.

“People have to manage chronic lung diseases for their entire lives,” lead author Mayank Goel, computer science and engineering doctoral student at University of Washington, said.

“So there’s a real need to have a device that allows patients to accurately monitor their condition at home without having to constantly visit a medical clinic, which in some places requires hours or days of travel,” Goel noted.

SpiroCall is an advancement over SpiroSmart which the researchers introduced in 2012 to let people monitor their lung function by blowing into their smartphones.

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Daniel Enisan is a content writer at With a degree in mass communication, Daniel is a full breed journalist. Daniel is a realist, loves the use of sarcasm, a movie and music junkie. He is also a poet and a good listener.

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