The iPhone has already revolutionized the lives of millions of users, now it can look after your health by turning into a digital dermascope, allowing doctors to treat patients for skin diseases.
The “Handyscope” clips onto the back of an iPhone, uses its camera to take up-close photos of the skin, allowing doctors to diagnose diseases such as melanoma. The device won’t replace an actual consultation, but it could help reassure patients without visiting a doctor.
Germany’s FotoFinder built the imagery system, which magnifies the image for 20 times for more precision.
However, at a price of $1,580 for the device and another $12 for the app, the Handyscope will most likely be aimed at doctors, who can use the accessory to share information and diagnosis with colleagues and patients.
Using mobile technology to improve health care is on the rise as faster networks allow more data to be sent wirelessly. AT&T recently released a wireless pill cap that automatically tracks and reminds patients to take their medication. Companies have released medical equipment for the smartphones, such as home blood pressure monitor to let consumers view, track and share blood pressure and heart rate data with health care professionals, and small devices that allow users to test for sexually transmitted diseases.
Microsoft founder Bill Gates is perhaps the most high-profile supporter of using mobile technology to improve health care. In November, he said that technology could provide health care to over 500 million people by 2015, improving immunization programs and offering cheap diagnostic tools to combat many of the world’s diseases. Last week, Gates proposed a plan to use smartphones to register births with the aim of increasing vaccination rates in the developing world.
Two years ago, a report found pairing smartphones with health-monitoring technologies could improve care as well as save more than $197 billion over 25 years in the U.S.