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Geek Chic

Uchek, just add urine

3/13/2013

While smartphones are generally designed to help users gather information from the outside world, a new application aims to help monitor one’s health through the scientific process of urine analysis.

Now before you’re turned off by the “ick” factor this idea generates, no, you will not be peeing on your phone.

The waste processing application called Uchek was unveiled during a recent TED Talk in Los Angeles, Calif., by its developer, Myshkin Ingawale. The Technology, Education and Design conference regularly spotlights inventors and innovators who develop creative ideas, but few TED talks rival the peculiarity of Uchek.

Currently available for 99 cents in Apple’s App Store, the process works through the joint use of a mobile device’s camera and a $20 testing kit (a color-coded test map and a pack of urine dipsticks) available through the developer’s website.

The user simply urinates into a container, dips a testing stick in the sample for two seconds, and then photographs the stick in front of the test map. Within seconds the application will produce an easy-to-understand diagnosis, revealing concerns such as diabetes, urinary tract infections, kidney and liver problems, overall general health and even cancer. After receiving a diagnosis, users can store the information on their phones or email it to their health care provider.

In his TED talk, Ingawale stressed that the app is meant for informational purposes only and should not replace the care of a trained physician. While Uchek can test for a few basic things like glucose, proteins and nitrites, a traditional urine analysis administered by a medical professional can provide much more information.

While a doctor may initially be skeptical of the results of Uchek, the developers of the application believe this tool will help “democratize healthcare.” By filling their phone with snapshots of their urine, users can acquire a better understanding of their overall health and well-being. CV              

Patrick Boberg is a central Iowa creative media specialist. For more tech insights follow him on Twitter @ResponsiblyWild.                 

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