Smartphone app can measure blood oxygen levels with 80% accuracy

No oximeter? Do not worry! Smartphone app can measure blood oxygen levels with 80% accuracy by passing phone flash through your finger, study finds

  • Blood oxygen levels are currently measured using a pulse oximeter
  • But it makes it difficult to test blood oxygen levels on the go
  • Scientists have developed an application that uses the phone’s camera and flash
  • In tests, it has been shown to detect low blood oxygen levels with 80% accuracy.

From asthma to Covid-19several conditions may require regular blood oxygen measurements.

Currently, these measurements are taken using a pulse oximeter – a device that clips onto the fingertip or ear – although this can make testing difficult on the go.

Hoping to make the process easier, scientists have developed a smartphone app that uses the device’s camera and flash to measure blood oxygen levels.

During the tests, researchers from the University of Washington and the University of California San Diego showed that the smartphone can detect blood oxygen saturation levels of up to 70% – the lowest value pulse oximeters should be able to measure.

Scientists have developed a smartphone app that uses the device’s camera and flash to measure blood oxygen levels

What is a Pulse Oximeter?

A pulse oximeter measures the amount of light absorbed by your blood.

This tells us how much oxygen is in your blood.

The pulse oximeter shines 2 lights through the fingertip or earlobe: a red light and an infrared light.

Blood with a high oxygen content absorbs more infrared light and lets through more red light.

Blood without enough oxygen absorbs more red light and lets through more infrared light.

If your blood cells don’t have enough oxygen, they will appear more blue.

Source: British Lung Foundation

The system involves the user placing their finger on the smartphone’s camera and flash before taking a video.

A deep learning algorithm can then decipher blood oxygen levels based on the images.

To test it, the researchers recruited six participants between the ages of 20 and 34.

Each participant wore a standard pulse oximeter on one finger, then placed another finger on the same hand on a smartphone camera and flash.

“The camera records a video: each time your heart beats, fresh blood flows through the part illuminated by the flash,” said lead author Edward Wang.

“The camera records the amount of blood that absorbs the light from the flash in each of the three color channels it measures: red, green and blue.

“Then we can integrate these intensity measurements into our deep learning model.”

For 15 minutes, each participant breathed a controlled mixture of oxygen and nitrogen to slowly reduce their oxygen level.

The results revealed that the smartphone correctly predicted if the subject had low blood oxygen 80% of the time.

The researchers hope to continue the research by testing the algorithm on more people.

Each participant wore a standard pulse oximeter on one finger, then placed another finger on the same hand over a smartphone camera and flash.

Each participant wore a standard pulse oximeter on one finger, then placed another finger on the same hand over a smartphone camera and flash.

Huawei unveils £400 wearable device that can take your blood pressure by INFLATING around your wrist

Huawei launched a smartwatch that inflates around the wrist to take accurate blood pressure readings, much like a cuff around the arm during a doctor’s office.

The Huawei Watch D has an airbag inside the strap that slowly inflates around your wrist.

Blood pressure is a vital indicator of overall health, but when taken by the doctor it can be altered by what is known as the “white coat effect”, where the blood pressure increases slightly when we are at the doctor.

“One of our subjects had thick calluses on his fingers, which made it more difficult for our algorithm to accurately determine his blood oxygen levels,” said study co-lead author Jason Hoffman. .

“If we were to expand this study to more subjects, we would likely see more people with calluses and more people with different skin tones.

“We could then have an algorithm that is complex enough to be able to better model all of these differences.”

The researchers point out that almost everyone now owns a smartphone.

“That way, you could have multiple measurements with your own device for free or at low cost,” said study co-author Dr. Matthew Thompson.

“In an ideal world, this information could flow seamlessly to a doctor’s office.

“It would be really beneficial for telemedicine appointments or for triage nurses to be able to quickly determine if patients need to go to the emergency room or if they can continue to rest at home and make an appointment with their provider. primary care later.

The study comes shortly after Huawei launched a smartwatch that inflates around the wrist to take accurate blood pressure readings, much like a cuff around the arm during a doctor’s office.

The new Huawei Watch D has an airbag inside the strap that slowly inflates around your wrist.

Blood pressure is a vital indicator of overall health, but when taken by the doctor it can be altered by what is known as the “white coat effect”.

This is where blood pressure rises slightly when we are at the doctor, due to the slight increase in anxiety that comes with being in a clinical setting.