Urine-Testing Phone App is no Pisstake


A new iPhone app will help analyze your urine for 25 different health conditions. But thankfully you won’t have to worry about Apple’s warranty exemption for passing water damage.

Instead the app works by examining photographs of a strip onto which a patient urinates. The strip changes color depending on the presence and levels of of 10 variables: bilirubin, glucose, hematuria, ketones, leukocytes, nitrites, proteins, specific gravity and urobilinogen.

Myshkin Ingawale, the man behind the Uchek app, talked about how it worked at a TED conference in Los Angeles, though thankfully used a prepared sample.

He explained that although the idea of color-changing strips is well established, they can be difficult for people to accurately read, with variations in tone being something of a subjective measure to the human eye.

Uchek takes advantage of the iPhone being able to more accurately and objectively detect colors in images taken with its camera. To use it, you place the strip against a supplied mat that has a pallette of colors printed on it for comparison purposes. This means the app should still be accurate in a range of different lighting conditions.

The results are delivered with a combination of hard numbers and explanations as to whether a result is significant. It then links to more details of suspected conditions.

The app is due for release in the iTunes store at the end of next month. The plan is to charge $20 for delivery of the mat and five strips, with a 99 cent fee for the app itself.

The initial consumer launch is mainly targeted at people with diabetes or organ conditions who could benefit from a quick and simple way to carry out tests without having to visit a hospital. The long term goal is to make it a viable option for mobile and rural health services in developing nations where using specialist machinery for testing isn’t affordable. The system is currently being tested in a Mumbai hospital in a comparison with specialist screening equipment.

Ingawale says he’s also working on developing an Android version of the app but that it’s proving trickier thanks to the variations in cameras across different models.

No word yet on whether a version will be produced for the Wii.