The Faculty of Science together with the Faculty of Medicine, Chulalongkorn University, have developed “Lung Care”, a mobile application to test lung performance. By blowing into a small talk or the microphone of a smartphone, a person can get a preliminary assessment of how the lungs are functioning or keep track of a lung disease.
Invented by Associate Professor Dr. Pattarasinee Bhattarakosol, Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, Faculty of Science, Chulalongkorn University, “Lung Care” functions by importing sound waves and converting sound waves into lung values. These values are compared to the medical standard values from Associate Professor Kamon Kawkitinarong, Lung and Respiratory Specialist at King Chulalongkorn Memorial Hospital.
Associate Professor Dr. Pattarasinee shares on the app’s origin and said, “This application was brought about from my own experience. I have asthma and when I see a doctor, I have to blow into a Peak Flow Meter. The device is large, and although the blowing paper cylinder is disposable, it is a waste. That is how the idea materialized. I figured, if there is a device that works like a Peak Flow Meter and is portable, it should be a good option”.
In developing the application, it started with the writing of an experimental software, including an equation that converts sound waves into wind blowing scales that is equal to the Peak Flow Meter and using computer and statistical principles. After testing with a sample of 37 people, the accuracy was found to be as high as 97.6%, which is very satisfactory. The lung quality tests are compared by gender, age, and height with the standard values. Data is collected for a certain period, and if there is a continuous decrease in lung capacity, the application will alert the patient to see a doctor.
“Heavy smokers, construction workers, cement factory workers, or anyone whose work involves exposure to dust are recommended to use this app to check their lung quality”, recommends Associate Professor Dr. Pattarasinee.
The Lung Care application is very user-friendly. Users just need to blow at a mobile phone’s small talk twice a day, morning and evening. For people with chronic respiratory problems, such as asthma and emphysema, medical attention should be sought immediately if the displayed value remains low after blowing for three consecutive days. For those who do not have any medical conditions, the app can be used to check the lungs.
With the current COVID-19 pandemic, this application may be used to initially check for lung damage and the availability of lung space. However, it cannot be used to confirm whether the lung is infected with COVID-19, which requires further examination.
“It is recommended the “Lung Care” app users check their lungs every day. The app is a preventive measure to easily monitor our health, so deleting it after a few successful readings is a waste. We all have smart phones. Do not neglect your health until it’s too late.” Associate Professor Dr. Pattarasinee concluded.