Smartphones can sniff out life-threatening diseases

Smartphones can sniff out life-threatening diseasesJerusalem : Researchers are developing a new technology that would enable smartphones to screen their users' breath for life-threatening diseases.

A research consortium headed by Professor Hossam Haick of the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology is developing a product that, when coupled with a smartphone, will be able to screen the user's breath for early detection of diseases.

The SNIFFPHONE project will link Haick's breathalyzer screening technology to the smartphone to provide non-invasive, fast and cheap disease detection.

It will work by using micro- and nano-sensors that read exhaled breath and then transfer the information through the attached mobile phone to an information-processing system for interpretation.

The data is then assessed and disease diagnosis and other details are ascertained.

The technology is supported by a USD 6.8 million grant to the consortium to expand the "electronic nose" breathalyzer technology that Haick has been developing since he joined the Technion in 2006.

That technology can identify individuals from the general population who have a higher likelihood for contracting a specific disease, and treat them in advance or at an early stage.

The entities participating in the winning consortium include Siemens; universities and research institutes from Germany, Austria, Finland, Ireland and Latvia; and Israeli company NanoVation-GS Israel.

"The SNIFFPHONE is a winning solution. It will be made tinier and cheaper than disease detection solutions currently, consume little power, and most importantly, it will enable immediate and early diagnosis that is both accurate and non-invasive," said Haick.

"Early diagnosis can save lives, particularly in life-threatening diseases such as cancer," said Haick. (PTI)