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Enabling mHealth Solutions in Developing Countries

Researcher: Drew Hall (UC San Diego)
Location: United States

Mobile-phone based mHealth devices can dramatically reduce the cost and reach of healthcare in low- and middle-income countries. Deep penetration of smartphones provides the platform. The lack of centralized healthcare infrastructure commonly found in highly developed countries creates the need.

This need will be addressed through development of a smartphone-based platform that can be easily combined with a wide range of sensing technologies to enable mHealth solutions that seamlessly integrate with information and communication technology. The research team will develop the underlying technology needed to harvest power from mobile phones and the ability to bi-directionally communicate with the mobile phone over the audio jack.

The project aims to develop a modular electronic module from which any number of sensors can be easily added, and mobile phone software to interface with the module. The team will work with programmers from the UC San Diego Qualcomm Institute to develop a generic software stack for a phone that powers and communicates with the module. The hardware and software will be publicly available for anyone to easily add a specialized sensor.

This research will not only be positively disruptive to the medical community, but also to the computer and mobile communications industries. The mHealth devices this research will enable are not intended to replace doctors or the diagnostic tools available in hospitals, but they do have tremendous potential in developing countries where medical infrastructure is lacking or simply does not exist.

Related Publications

Jiang, Haowei, Alex Sun, A. G. Venkatesh, and Drew A. Hall. 2017. “An Audio Jack-Based Electrochemical Impedance Spectroscopy Sensor for Point-of-Care Diagnostics.IEEE Sensors Journal 17 (3): 58997.

Sun, A., A. G. Venkatesh, and D. A. Hall. 2016. “A Multi-Technique Reconfigurable Electrochemical Biosensor: Enabling Personal Health Monitoring in Mobile Devices.IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Circuits and Systems (TBioCAS)10 (5): 945–54.

Sun, A. C., C. Yao,  A. G. Venkatesh, and D. A. Hall. 2016. “An Efficient Power Harvesting Mobile Phone-based Electrochemical Biosensor for Point-of-Care Health Monitoring.Sensors and Actuators B: Chemical 235 (May): 126–35.

Yao, Chengyang, Alexander Sun, and Drew A. Hall. 2015. “Efficient Power Harvesting from the Mobile Phone Audio Jack for mHealth Peripherals.” Paper presented to the Global Humanitarian Technology Conference (GHTC), Seattle, WA, October 811.

Sun, Alexander, Travis Wambach, A. G. Venkatesh, and Drew A. Hall. 2014. “A Low-Cost Smartphone-Based Electrochemical Biosensor for Point-of-Care Diagnostics.” Paper presented at the Biomedical Circuits and Systems Conference (BioCAS), Lausanne, Switzerland, October 2224.