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A team has developed an app and small lens add-on that allows blood-cell analysis via a smartphone

The app, called Athelas, won a prize at a coding event held by the prestigious start-up hub Y Combinator.

The team says it can detect diseases such as malaria and cancers in seconds, through so-called predictive cell counting.

But experts warned of the difficulty of reproducing the quality of medical labs results using just a smartphone.

Users take a picture of their blood using the lens attachment, which is then sent to the app's servers, and the results are then sent back to them.

Team leader Tanay Tandon said in his submission: "For more than two centuries, cell morphology - or the practice of viewing/analysing a person's blood in order to diagnose conditions - has been the primary way to approach medicine.

"Yet, despite the critical nature of blood analysis to the medical industry - the process has hardly changed from its long, expensive form for 150 years."

Mr Tandon added that in "rural areas, the tech will really shine, providing previously unavailable diagnostic skills through the power of artificial intelligence and computer vision".

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I was hoping for a joke app that was causing a bunch of people to cut themselves to rub blood all over their iPhones.

But this is pretty cool too.

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This app is really not a good idea as well as not reliable in the first place.

 

Patients already have access to Internet information which most of the time unnecessarily increases their anxiety. The last thing they need is a "health app" that screams "you have cancer". Diagnosing cancer is not often that easy with only a blood test in a lab, let alone a smartphone app.

 

I expect not many health professionals will support this app. I know I won't.

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I'd be worried if it was a Windows phone.

 

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