Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

And for Their Next Trick, Smartphones Will Analyze Your Urine

Testing urine can reveal diseases, pregnancy, drug usage, dehydration, diet problems and more. But urine tests are not terrifically accessible — companies like Siemens make proprietary urine dipsticks that are read only by their expensive proprietary machines.

Myshkin Ingawale of Biosense Technologies has developed an iPhone app to make that process much more accessible. The aim of uChek is to make analyzing pee so simple that people around the world can do it at home to test and monitor their own health.

As Ingawale put it, the conclusion was inevitable: “Cellphones, everybody has them. And everybody pees. There has to be something interesting going on here.”

He quipped in a well-received talk at the TED conference on Monday, “The future might not be in your hand; it might well be down the toilet.”

The uChek app works with any urine-test dipstick, with the familiar set of colored boxes that change to indicate levels of things like ketones and pH in the pee.

To use the app, you dip the stick in the pee and put it down next to a washable color mat, then take a picture of the two at certain time intervals. The point of the mat is to provide a reference color palette that can be compared to the stick in any light. Then the app locally analyzes what it sees, and displays the levels and the trends.

After Ingawale demoed this process on stage with a cup of pee, nobody was quite sure whether to shake his hand.

Biosense Technologies employs 10 people in Mumbai, and raised $500,000 from Insitor Fund and GSF India, Ingawale told me in an interview offstage.

He said he expects to launch uChek on March 25. The app will likely cost $0.99, and the mat will cost $20. An Android version is the next priority.

UChek is actually Biosense’s second product, and this was Ingawale’s second TED talk. Last year, he debuted an anemia detector that doesn’t require a needle, called ToucHB. That device has been redesigned over the past year, and is now shipping in limited quantities in India, he said.

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