Hyun Gyu Park and Byoung Yeon Won at the Korea Advanced Institute for Science and Technology in Daejeon, South Korea believe that a biosample – sputum, saliva, blood, or even urine – could be applied to the screen of a smartphone for analysis. They point out that the screen is capable of detecting extraordinarily small differences in capacitance and it’s that capability which can be leveraged to diagnose everything from influenza to salmonella. The value of the analysis though, hinges on the ability to correlate differences in the capacitance of the sample with something clinically relevant. While current touchscreens are still not able to identify individual pathogens, the touchscreen’s ability to differentiate between concentrations is a crucial first step.
I’m not sure if I like this idea or not. Even though I still use the conventional cellular phone, I can see the benefits of using smartphones to communicate and access information quickly. I just can’t picture myself smearing my bodily excretions on the screen of my phone. It just seems a bit unsanitary.