Screening app tracks changes in pupil size

US researchers have developed a smartphone app that could be used to detect signs of neurological disease

SP app

Scientists from University of California San Diego have developed a smartphone app that analyses changes in pupil size in order to flag potential cases of neurological disease.

The app, which was described at the Conference on Human Factors in Computer Systems (April 30 – May 5, New Orleans), uses a near-infrared camera in combination with a selfie camera to track how a person’s pupil changes in size.

Colin Barry, a doctoral student at University of California San Diego, shared his hope that the technology enables further exploration of how smartphones can detect and monitor potential health problems.

“While there is still a lot of work to be done, I am excited about the potential for using this technology to bring neurological screening out of clinical lab settings and into homes," he said.

Barry added that the app incorporates features that make it user friendly for older adults.

“For us, one of the most important factors in technology development is to ensure that these solutions are ultimately usable for anyone. This includes individuals like older adults who might not be accustomed to using smartphones," he said.

As near-infrared cameras for facial recognition are only included on newer models of phone, the research team is exploring the development of an app that would be able to perform pupillometry on any smartphone.