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Posted on Sep 22, 2012 in News | 0 comments

SpiroSmart: the mobile spirometer


A spirometer is a device used mainly by respiratory physicians to diagnose and objectively monitor the lung function of patients suffering from common conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma and cystic fibrosis.  Traditionally, this device works via  a differential pressure transducer to determine the flow and thus the amount of air that is exhaled as the patient breathes into the machine.  The recent announcement of SpirosmartTM by the University of Washington Department of Medicine and Seattle Children’s Hospital has been a pivotal step towards the management of chronic  lung conditions.

SpirosmartTM is a mobile phone based system that extrapolates lung function using the in-built microphone.  As the user inhales and exhales within a hands-breadth away from the mobile device, the software estimates the lung function measurements via a set of complicated algorithms involving the resonance frequencies of the user’s vocal tract.  Initial pilot studies by the development team involving 52 patients have shown a mean error of 5.1% compared to a clinical spirometer.  The current cost of the software is still under wraps, however due to its portability and ease of use, this device may be a breath of fresh air to home monitoring of chronic lung conditions and detecting exacerbations before they become worse.