Monitoring children’s breathing rate is commonly done simply by using a stopwatch or with an expensive piece of equipment, but it turns out that just about any smartphone can be a perfect respiratory monitor. Researchers from BC Children’s Hospital and the University of British Columbia have developed an app that simply asks the user to tap the touchscreen every time the patient breathes in. The app in turn calculates the breathing rate and displays it on the screen along with an animation of a breathing child, to help make sure the calculated breathing rate matches what the person is seeing.
In a study of children’s breathing, the app provided accurate results after roughly ten seconds of counting, while the manual stopwatch method requires a full minute to perform. The researchers plan to combine the app with the Phone Oximeter pulse oximeter they developed a few years ago to create a cheap and mobile too for pneumonia detection.