A mobile phone application could help monitor the way infectious diseases such as flu are spread.
A mobile phone application could help monitor the way infectious diseases such as flu are spread. The FluPhone app was developed by researchers at the University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory.
Volunteers' phones fitted with the app “talk” to each other, recording how many people each “infected subject” meets during an imaginary epidemic.The university is one of seven institutions working on the study to reduce the impact of epidemics.
The FluPhone app uses Bluetooth technology to anonymously record interaction between volunteers involved in the study.When mobile phones come into close proximity, that fact is recorded and data is sent automatically to the research team.
Professor Jon Crowcroft and Dr Eiko Yoneki, co–principal investigators of the study, said they believed the collected data could be used to simulate social interaction during a real epidemic or pandemic.
Dr Yoneki said: “The data was a valuable insight into how human communities are formed, how much time people spend together, and how frequently they meet. Such data show complex network–like structures, which is very useful for understanding the spread of disease.”
Prof Crowcroft explained epidemiologists traditionally monitor how a disease spreads by asking patients to keep diaries of their movements and social contacts.