While the vast majority of people use smartphones and tablets for keeping up to date on social media, watching movies, listening to music, or playing games, mobile devices aren’t all about fun, fun, fun. In fact, there are many situations where handhelds are actually helping to save human lives. Today. We’re going to take a look at the many applications and situations where mobile devices are making us safer, healthier, and improving our lives immeasurably. Let’s take a look at some of the incredible technology that is available to us right now.
Young children who develop the eye cancer known as Retinoblastoma can often die – or, lose their sight and possibly their entire eye. However, a smartphone camera can pick up the early signs, just from using the flash. If the resulting photo shows your child’s eye as white, rather than black – like an animal’s eye reflection – it might be a sign they are developing the condition. While a one-off result isn’t enough to start worrying about, if it keeps happening in your photos, make sure you go and see a doctor.
General Eye Checking
It’s not just kids that are enjoying better optical health because of smartphones. Eye examination kits such as Peek are also helping deliver comprehensive eye exams that can test for color vision, cataracts, visual field, and acuity. It’s a great tool for physicians who need to get out in the field and is also being used extensively in developing countries where few people have access to expensive eye-checking services.
HIV and Syphilis can ravage communities – as we all remember from the 80’s, and continue to see in developing parts of the world. However, thanks to New York’s Columbia University – and smartphones – testing for these terrible diseases is now a lot cheaper than it ever has been. Lab testing equipment for HIV and Syphilis costs somewhere in the region of $10-20,000, but a new diagnostic dongle is now available for less than $40. And the results of this disease-checking dongle are impressive – it finds HIV and Syphilis in pregnant women 92 percent of the time, and is already saving the lives of newborn babies.
We’ve all seen the disturbing pictures of babies and young children being plucked from collapsed buildings after the devastation caused by earthquakes and bombings. And many of them have been saved by expensive thermal imaging equipment – which looks like it is about to get much cheaper. According to thermal camera guide, it is now possible to get thermal imaging attachments for your smartphone, and they can be used by everyone from firefighters and the military to find people. Given that the high-performance thermal imaging tools tend to be bulky, difficult to use, and incredibly expensive, these simple smartphone extensions could end up being a cost-effective way of saving lives wherever disaster strikes.
People with any kind of heart distress need super quick diagnostic treatment if they want to improve their chances of making a full recovery. Which is why the AliveCor ECG device is such as fantastic tool. According to AliveCor, all users need to do is clip the portable ECG onto the back of their phone or tablet and place both thumbs over the sensors. In an instant, the device can give you a full report of what is happening to your heart, and provide real-time data to first responders and the emergency services. The device can also help people identify if they are at risk of having a stroke, as well as a heart attack – sometimes before you even start to suffer symptoms.
Skin Cancer Detection
Rates of skin cancer are on the rise – alarmingly so, in many countries. And if you have ever noticed a mole starting to change its appearance, it can be quite a chilling experience and a very worrying time. However, with the Doctor Mole or Skinvision apps, you can ease your fears by taking a photo of the mole and analyzing its appearance. The smartphone and tablet apps will help you see how much your moles have changed shape, and will flag up any issues that mean you should pay your doctor a visit.
There are quite a few examples of glucose testers out there for diabetes sufferers these days, and they are proving invaluable. Diabetics can use apps and devices like the LifeScan Verio Sync by One Touch to take readings and see data about their glucose levels. The app has proved itself successful in highlighting dangerous levels of glucose in diabetics and gives them an early warning sign of potential complications occurring.
First Aid Apps
There are a whole bunch of First Aid apps out there right now, but one of the best is the First Aid app by the American Red Cross organization. It helps you learn about how to deal with emergency situations, and gives you everything you need to know about being the first on the scene in the event of another person injuring. The app contains basic first aid lessons, videos that show you precisely what actions you need to take, and also some basic disaster preparedness advice. The more people that know first aid, the more lives will be saved – it’s a simple fact that means this app should be a ‘must’ for everyone who owns a smartphone or tablet.
There are some great apps for people who might suffer from allergies or have them in their family. While you might be able to take a tight control over your allergy at home, it can often be a different scenario entirely once you go abroad – especially if you are visiting a country that uses a different language. So, just enter your allergies before you go abroad and the apps will translate your conditions in Spanish, French, or German, meaning pretty much anywhere you are in the world, you can ensure you won’t consume the wrong foods.
Of course, in this day and age, we need to be able to track family members who we might be worried about. Apps like Patronus are ideal for the kind of scenarios where, say, your teenage kids are going out at night, and you need to know where they are. Just download the app, and it uses your phone’s GPS sensors to track your location – and it can even forward your details to the emergency services should the need arise. It’s also worth looking at the Red Panic Button app, which enables you or your children to send out a message of urgency to the emergency services if you or they feel like there is trouble brewing. Not only can it send your location, but you can also send voice messages, video, and photos of the event.
OK, so there you have it – some excellent tools there, we think you’ll agree. Have we missed any out? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.