back to article iPhone doc will detect cancer, diabetes - boffins

A drop of blood or saliva can be analysed using an ordinary touch screen - and once boffins perfect the identification of biological molecules, then diagnosis by iPhone – or indeed any smartphone – isn't far off. The work is being done in South Korea, where researchers at the Advanced Institute of Science and Technology have …


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  1. geekclick

    I will happily

    Spit on someone iPhone for them :)

  2. Daedalus Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    And it's here

    The word you are looking for is "joymaker". An all purpose communication, information and medication device worn by all characters in the novel "The Age of the Pussyfoot" by Frederik Pohl, publ. 1969. In an afterword Pohl noted that he got the idea from seeing the early time-sharing systems in operation, and decided to extrapolate that by 500 years. He signed off saying that he thought it probably wouldn't take 500 years, ending with "Maybe not even 50".

    Seven years to spare, Fred.

    1. Ru


      Diagnosis is not dosing. Complex chemical synthesis in a handheld device is a little way off yet.

  3. g e

    Time for a new patent

    Patent the 'Lick' gesture on a touchscreen mobile device

    Samsung, are you listening ?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fertility test?

    just come here?

    Now which pocket had the wipes?

    1. Ammaross Danan


      They have a collector strap-on device for the iPad....just put some electrodes in the end. Can double up as "pleasure enhancers" too....

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    ".....then diagnosis by iPhone isn't far off"

    Or any other device really, it doesn't have to be an iPhone.

    Remember the majority don't need a phone to give them status, or an iOS thats as simple as vtech and as beautiful as a pimply ass!

    (Hurray for Woz!)

  6. Anonymous Coward

    iPhone doc will detect cancer, diabetes - boffins

    About time we had a simple test for detecting boffins.

    1. Mediocrates Silver badge

      Already have a simple test

  7. moiety Silver badge

    Can it detect alcohol in sweat and turn off outgoing messaging and emails if over a predefined limit? That'd be handy.

    1. Jedit Silver badge

      An interesting idea

      Now, consider the concept of linking a car ignition key to an app. Devices are already capable of retinal identification and thumbprint identification; add in the ability to detect blood alcohol levels, and it would be possible to have a car that you couldn't drive if you were over the legal limit.

      1. Lord Midas

        Good idea, Jedit

        A lot of cars now have a Start/Power button and if this button became a biometrics button that also detected alcohol levels..... no more drink driving. Sweet.

        1. Tromak

          A good idea, in theory

          What's to say that someone else who's not over the limit won't start the car up for them? Do you think that the biometric-enabled vehicles required to have all drivers "added" to the system? How difficult would it be to remove those drivers and add others when the vehicle is traded?

          1. moiety Silver badge

            There's been stuff like that around for ages. Blow into the bag before your car will start. Problem is what happens if you're getting mugged at the time? If you have technology that you rely on then it should work under any circumstances.

            1. Ammaross Danan


              "If you have technology that you rely on then it should work under any circumstances."

              Or if your iPhone battery flat-lines in 30min due to the latest iOS update.... Can't even call a cab because the phone is dead....

  8. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Especially since it's in South Korea

      so it's far more likely to appear in Samsung kit.

  9. Darryl


    Remind me to never borrow anyone's iPhone again

  10. The Fuzzy Wotnot

    After a day in the sweaty mitts of most users I can imagine your average touchscreen has enough blood, spit and Lord knows what bodily substances to work out someone's entire medical history!

  11. James Thomas

    Diagnosis: Poser

  12. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge


    First we were told that phones caused cancer. Now they can detect it. Next year they'll be sold as a cure for it.

  13. This post has been deleted by its author

  14. Graham Bartlett

    @The Fuzzy Wotnot

    There's a joke about a patient who goes to see his doctor about his tennis elbow, and the doctor shows off his new auto-diagnosis widget. The bloke creates a mixed-up sample from his daughter, his wife, himself, and some engine oil. Punchline is: "Your daughter's up the duff, your wife's got the clap, your car's about to throw a piston, and if you don't stop w*nking your tennis elbow is never going to get better."

  15. Mark Shaffer

    "Diagnose" Cancer?

    Don't think so. Of course there are many different diseases covered by the term, but few if any of them can be diagnosed by means of a blood test alone; they require a tissue biopsy for an accurate diagnosis. So at best this could provide some sort of front-line screening. And then the issue of false positives leading to unnecessary biopsies would rear its ugly head. So: Needs more work.

    1. Ian Stephenson


      an elevated T cell count is a pretty good indicator you need to get something investigated further.

      Calling Agent Picolax!

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This will work as well as those cloning breakthroughs by Dr Woo-suk...

    Korean "research", I've heard of it (actually a bit more than heard hence the AC)

  17. Alien Doctor 1.1

    Too many blood tests

    After having had a pulmonary embolism in 2004 and then three more blood clots in my leg recently I have put on warfarin for life - this is a royal pain-in-the-inner-arm as I need to have INR checks on a weekly basis, which means half a day waiting at the doc's for the phlebologist to take my sample and send it to the hospital for testing.

    Anything that would give me 1/28th of my week back would be very useful and means I won't end up with an arm looking like a smack-addict.

    It still won't turn me an iphone user though - but hopefully the tech will be available to all - the benefits should outweigh any use by a company to patent it.

    1. Alien Doctor 1.1


      Why I thought there were 14 days in a week escapes me - not having to have a regular INR would give me 1/14th of my week back.

    2. Timfy67
      Thumb Up

      Been around for years

      google coaguchek, I've been using one for years. Tiny thumb pinprick sample and Roberts your close relative!

      Still worth popping into your local Phleb once every couple of months to keep calibration but my older model has never skipped a beat. You may have to buy the unit yourself but I believe the test strips are available on the NHS

  18. Neily-boy

    I'm confused......

    Am I reading Viz or the Register?

    Sensationalist headline which is quickly dispelled by the main article. Well done though - that was pretty amazing how you managed to shoe-horn the word "iphone" in at all.

    I had been wondering why I don't visit this site as much these days, but I think this pretty much explains why - You've turned into ZDNet.

  19. Marketing Hack Silver badge

    (Best Siri voice) Sir, you are free of cancer or diabetes.....

    But you have an abnormal amount of turd in your blood!!!

    That, plus the fitting but original use of the Sherlock Holmes icon makes this a 10/10 post!

    (/bows) Thank you! Thank you!! I couldn't have done this without all of you!!!

  20. Marketing Hack Silver badge

    (Best Siri voice) Sir, you are free of cancer or diabetes.....

    But you have an abnormal amount of turd in your blood!!!

    That, plus the fitting but original use of the Sherlock Holmes icon makes this a 10/10 post!

    (/bows) Thank you! Thank you!! I couldn't have done this without all of you!!!

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Great publicity

    I hope the news that iPhones can detect medical conditions goes viral - that would be great for my new Pregnancy Test app.

  22. Graham Lockley

    @Marketing Hack

    I upvoted you once for the first post, I think you are being greedy expecting the duplicate to get anything :)

    Anyways, if the BejasusPhone diagnoses you it will also be able to (miraculously) cure you, as eny fule no.

  23. Tapeador

    Gillian McKeith

    Has I think you'll find perfected this method. Although it may be difficult to sterilise the phone afterward.

  24. MrDamage

    iPhone 4 had this.

    It could diagnose that you had one thumb too many.

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