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Take a selfie instead of going to the doctor? This tech might make it possible.
- A Toronto-based company called Nuralogix has an app that could revolutionize telehealth.
- Using a smartphone camera, you can capture a selfie, and an app can output a slew of health metrics.
- We tried it at MWC 2023, and it worked quite well.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, telehealth become incredibly popular. While chatting with a doctor over video chat can be very useful, there’s still no easy way for you to tell them your basic vitals: blood pressure, heart rate, BMI, etc.
A Toronto-based company called Nuralogix is trying to solve this problem. The company’s app, Anura, can analyze a person’s various health metrics by capturing a 30-second selfie video. The video is analyzed using what Nuralogix calls “Transdermal Optical Imaging,” or TOI. Essentially, TOI scans the selfie video looking for facial blood information. Monitoring your face for 30 seconds can glean various bits of health info about you.
I gave this a shot at Mobile World Congress 2023, where the company had a booth. It was as easy as it sounds: I used a smartphone to capture a selfie video for 30 seconds, being careful to breathe normally and not move or talk. As soon as I was done, we had pages and pages of my health info and analysis of risk factors for various problems. I’m happy to inform you that I have a very low chance of heart disease, at least according to Anura’s analysis.
Theoretically, this service could make telehealth just as effective and even easier than physically going to a doctor. Instead of driving to an office, having an assistant take all your vitals, waiting for the doctor, and then driving home, you could do everything from the comfort of your home.
Nuralogix: Is the future now?
If you want to give the Anura app a shot for yourself, a “Lite” version is available for Android and iOS. This version of the app doesn’t give you as much information as the real thing and also comes with a hefty disclaimer that it is intended “for investigational use only.” In other words, the app is not approved for use as a medical system, so you shouldn’t use it to make any medical decisions.
This, of course, illuminates the biggest hurdle a system like Anura faces. Convincing medical professionals and regulatory bodies that taking a selfie can be just as good as physically going to a doctor’s office isn’t an easy sell. However, Nuralogix has submitted its various services for FDA approval, so who knows what the future might hold.
For now, you’ll need to stick with traditional methods of obtaining vitals for your medical appointments. But who knows: maybe future visits will just be you capturing a selfie video and chatting with your doctor from the comfort of your couch.