Cough into a phone, get a diagnosis

Now this is cool: Cough into your mobile phone and get a diagnosis of the common cold, flu, pneumonia or some other respiratory ailment. No extra hardware needed.

How? Because the sound of a cough gives clues about whether a cough is dry or wet, productive or non-productive, or caused by bacteria or a virus. With the help of a $100,000 grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, a Bedford, Mass., firm called STAR Analytical Services is developing software to attempt to distinguish between the sounds. The software, reports London's Telegraph, would compare the user's cough to a database of prerecorded cough sounds, accounting for gender, age, weight and other variables.

Right now, the software runs on a PC, but the STAR Analytical folks are planning a smartphone version. They also need to increase their database from a few dozen patients to about 1,000 recordings. Perhaps in time for next flu season.

To learn more:
- read the STAR Analytical Services press release
- have a look at this Telegraph story