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December 1, 2011 at 9:52 AMComments: 2 Faves: 0

The Ultimate Spit Test

By E.M. Wollof from SLN More Blogs by This AuthorFrom the The Cold Boot Blog Series

What's up tech heads? Time to plug it in and boot it up...

Some fellow Korean techies have begun researching the possibility of the Iphone being used to diagnose you spitting on it. That's right, there is no typo, the Iphone touchscreen currently senses capacitance (the ability to store an electrical charge) in your fingers and responds accordingly to where it senses this charge. The researchers believe that this touchscreen technology can be adapted to identify certain concentrations of DNA in your spit, leading to a diagnosis of flu, strep throat, food poisoning, etc.

Early Adaptors

There are already micro-technologies at work that are being adapted to do just this. A USB flash drive that you can drop a sample of your blood in and micro-pumps run it through testing is already in production. The catch to this flash drive is that it needs to be plugged into the computer and then a program opened up to read the diagnosis, which is so much work now-a-days, jeez.

Problem Areas

There are some obvious and not so obvious set backs to tech of the "spit on my tech" nature. The first being that there are not a whole lot of people who generally enjoy hawking a big lugey onto their phone, most consider this to be rather dirty and advise against it. To combat this general distaste for spitting, the researchers are developing a film that will be applied before the ritual spewing of snot....problem solved.

Secondly, while the Iphone does have an incredibly sensitive touch screen, there is going to have to be some improvements made in order for it to diagnose anything other than a cold. As of right now, the Iphone can sense that there is DNA present and can distinguish certain maladies, but is not sophisticated enough to delve into a mass production type application.

Oddly enough, my largest concern, if I were the researchers, wouldn't be the integrity of the application, but the view of the general populace on getting their phone wet. The general consensus has been, for years, that getting your phone wet was a death knell for said phone. Changing this view is going to take some time, especially when we are talking about purposely spitting on a piece of tech that can cost upwards of 300 bones.

Shut it down....see you next week.

What did you think?


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  • Weird idea. The idea of a USB stick to plug into a computer and run tests sounds a lot more user-friendly than spitting on your touchscreen. Maybe the two ideas can meet in the middle. Some apps use peripherals via bluetooth or plugging into the headset jack. (Square's credit card reader comes to mind.) Maybe a small device for doing this diagnosis could be sold as an alternative to adding spit to the greasy fingerprints all over our screens.

  • I'd totally spit on an Iphone ;)

    actually, I agree with Dave. Meeting somewhere in the middle may be best. Maybe the Iphone can have something that attaches to it, you put your mouth on it and it reads the saliva inside your mouth? This way the Iphone screen doesn't get spit all over it, the extension that plugs into it does. That seems better. But maybe people would easily loose that little piece that could attach onto the Iphone? who knows!

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