When someone is feeling sick, you take their temperature to see if they’re running a fever. That’s the way it’s been for decades. However, all that a regular thermometer will tell you is their body temperature – it won’t tell you what they might have, or what you should do. The Kinsa Smart Thermometer, while not quite a medical tricorder, is designed to do those things.
The thermometer itself has no onboard processor, battery or display – one end of it goes under the patient’s tongue, and the other end goes in the headphone jack of an iPhone (an Android version is in the works). The accompanying Kinsa app then displays an accurate read-out of the patient’s temperature.
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That’s all very fancy and digital, but it’s what the app does subsequently that makes it interesting.
For starters, it allows the user to create profiles for each patient, to keep track of their temperatures and other symptoms over time. This information can be sent to a physician if necessary.
Users can then use the app to access current public health records, or to access local Kinsa user groups, to see what bugs are going around. For any illnesses that match the symptoms of the patient, the app will provide recommendations for treatment, along with things to watch for. If the user decides that their doctor should be contacted, they can do so with the click of a single button. They can also make appointments at local medical clinics, or get in contact with a Kinsa nurse.
Plans also call for development of an illness forecast, where users will be able to find out if they’re still in the contagious phase of the illness, and how close they are to being better.
Kinsa the company was founded by Inder Singh, who formerly ran the Clinton Health Access Initiative. The Smart Thermometer is part of his larger plan, to make the public more proactive in tracking and stopping the spread of disease. He and his colleagues are currently raising production funds for the thermometer and app, on Indiegogo. A pledge of US$25 will get you a Kinsa Smart Thermometer of your own, when and if the funding goal is met.
More information is available in the pitch video below.