Smart phone health testing devices will transform healthcare

Bodily fluids from saliva to sweat may soon be tested using smartphones instead of being sent to a lab, providing real time health insights thanks to a new research collaboration between Australian and Chinese partners.

Current technology isn’t actually diagnosing a range of common health problems – so the ability to integrate the testing of blood, saliva, urine and even sweat into smart technology could transform data collection in real time, manage illnesses and improve the overall health of Australians.

A grant of almost $940,000 from the Australian Government, through the Australia-China Science and Research Fund (ACSRF), will enable Flinders University to develop detection and monitoring devices for smart phones and wearables by building on its partnerships locally and internationally. Of particular note is the 19-year partnership with Nankai University in China.

The primary goal for the Joint Research Centre will be a consumer device capable of measuring a wide range of biomarkers, which can be incorporated into a smartphone platform and link to e-health services for further analysis by medical professionals.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research Professor Robert Saint says this latest collaboration with Nankai University reflects the partnerships long term success, which has fostered research with tangible benefits for our society.

“The 19-year partnership with Nankai University is one of Flinders University’s most durable and important overseas relationships,” says Professor Saint.

“This new initiative builds on existing research collaboration to create more exciting opportunities for transnational approaches which bring together our collective research strengths, to develop exciting projects in the healthcare sector.”

“Our international efforts integrating research in medicine,chemistry, biotechnology, engineering and digital health is part of a mission to change lives.”

The partnership, led by Flinders University and involving La Trobe University, Motherson Innovations (Adelaide-based manufacturer) and Chinese partners, Nankai University, Shandong Academy of Sciences, South China University of Technology (SCUT) and Shenzhen AIGen Biotech, brings together a unique cross-disciplinary partnership to create state-of-the-art personal medical devices.

Professor Karen Reynolds, Director of the Medical Device Research Institute, and Dean (Research) at the College of Science and Engineering says researchers and engineers from research organisations and industry will collaborate to develop cheap, accessible devices.

“It is quite revolutionary and it would definitely be a first for this specific type of application,”

“The benefits are significant for patients with a pre-existing disease and health conditions but also for identifying potential health issues really early as oppose to diagnosing serious disease we would be one step ahead.”

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