“This device has the potential to be a game-changer. It will equip millions of health care workers across the globe to quickly and safely detect and report this debilitating condition in pregnant women and newborns. The team members realized that every community health worker already carries a powerful computer in their pocket — their cell phone. So we didn’t have to build a computer for our screening device, and we didn’t have to build a display.”
— Soumyadipta Acharya, assistant research professor, Johns Hopkins’ Department of Biomedical Engineering
The noninvasive, “prick-free” device, which goes by the name HemoGlobe, is able to detect and report anemia at the community level. To measure blood hemoglobin levels, the HemoGlobe sensor shines various wavelengths of light through the skin on a patient’s fingertip. The color-coded test results are then displayed on a cell phone’s screen.
The results are also used to create a real-time map that shows the prevalence of anemia, which helps health workers follow-up and distribute additional resources.
How is technology changing your life for the better?
We are using the technology that is already in your pocket to create a completely new medium for psychotherapeutic intervention. You can have therapy with you and accessible to you whenever and wherever you have the need, potentially anywhere in the world.”
Ben-Zeev hopes that four papers now available online will encourage further discussion and research into the potential role of smartphones and cell phones in mental health services. In tandem with the research, Ben-Zeev is working with community agencies, rehab centers, and with people who are currently receiving clinical services.
A study described in a working paper titled, The Effect of Mobile Phone Use on Prosocial Behavior, links the use of cell phones to selfish behavior. In the study, “prosocial behavior” was defined as “action intended to benefit another person or society as a whole.”
…after a short period of cellphone use the subjects were less inclined to volunteer for a community service activity when asked, compared to the control-group counterparts. The cell phone users were also less persistent in solving word problems – even though they knew their answers would translate to a monetary donation to charity.”
— Announcement, Robert H. Smith School of Business, University of Maryland