Health gadgets and apps roundup

How am I feeling? Just ask my phone!

More than three million doctors have downloaded an iPhone app that was developed as nothing more than a toy. The iStethoscope allows iPhone users to hold their smartphone against their chest, so that the inbuilt microphone can record their heartbeat. By shaking the device, the user will then see a phonocardiograph display and spectrogram, which can be emailed to a specialist. The app is free to download and has been developed by Dr Peter Bentley at University College London. Find out more at


Another gadget aimed at helping doctors to monitor patients’ vital signs is the HealthPals wearable health monitoring system from German Designer Olga Epikhina. Still at the concept stage, each piece would attach to the wrist, finger, chest and head, harvesting body warmth and vibrations to charge the equipment. Data would then be gathered via an ECG sensor and sent via the patient’s Smartphone or PC via Bluetooth to a medical server via Wi-Fi to be analysed by doctors. It is designed to be used for patients with chronic conditions or for post-operative patients. Read more about it here.

Another gadget in the pipeline has been developed by Cambridge Consultants in conjunction with XenBio Fluidics, from California. CliniHub is a handheld device that has something of the Star Trek about it. It is capable of detecting three killer diseases; breast cancer, MRSA and another that has not yet been revealed, although its developers hope it will eventually be able to be used in the diagnosis of up to 20 conditions. A number of ports on the CliniHub can analyse a patient’s blood, urine or saliva sample to indicate the presence of disease. The device is expected to cost less than $100, and a version for home use (probably to determine between viral and bacterial sore throats) is also in the pipeline.
Read more here.

Back to the present…  What price would you put on saving a life? Would you be willing to splash out just 99c to find out how to perform CPR? Yes? Then the CPR Video Instruction is waiting for you here.

Another app with the potential to save a life is one just launched by the Meningitis Trust. We are just heading into the peak season for this potentially deadly virus as autumn and winter approach, so it is vital that you know how to spot the signs early. This is one app no parent should be without, although it’s not only children who contract meningitis, so it’s useful information for us all.

The free iPhone app is a world first and has been developed from the Trust’s credit-card sized information cards that have already been proved to save lives. For more go to the website.

How’s your hearing? If you’re worried that you can’t always hear conversations or concerned that your hearing is not what it used to be, the Royal National Institute for the Deaf (RNID) has come up with a nifty iPhone app that will test it for you. The new version of RNID’s popular Hearing Check has seen more than half a million people check their hearing so far. The Hearing Check app for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch allows users to check their hearing at the touch of a button for free by measuring the user’s ability to hear someone speaking when there is background noise, similar to being in a crowded room. There is also confidential advice available is your hearing proves to be below par.

The app is available from iTunes here
and in the app store on iPhone. It is also available on Facebook and online or by calling 0844 800 3838.

Finally, health and fitness go hand in hand, so if your bikini body never materialised this summer, don’t worry, you’ve a whole year to get in shape for next summer’s holiday.

Gym specialists Power Plate have released a new Pro6 Power Plate machine. If you’ve never encountered one before, this is how it works. It consists of two high strength Vectran cables, which transfer up to 80% of vibrations at high-speed frequency rates directly to the muscles of the arms, back, core and shoulders.

Formula 1 enthusiasts can even enjoy accelerated results with their own limited edition pro6 machine, finished in the blue and white livery of the AT&T Williams racing team.

Hmm, a workout that doesn’t involve running or pedalling? There must a catch? Well, only if you haven’t got a bottomless wallet – The Pro Plate6 comes in at a whopping £9,395 and, unsurprisingly, is available at Harrods. Maybe you can persuade your gym to invest in one.