Your Phone May Soon Know If You're Sick

System developed for sampling molecules from a user's sweat
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 28, 2008 2:45 PM CDT
In this combo photo made by three photos released Monday, April 23, 2007 by Japan's top mobile carrier NTT DoCoMo, the FOMA 904i series, a new line of mobile phones from Tokyo-based NTT DoCoMo, from left,...   (AP Photo/NTT DoCoMo, HO)
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(Newser) – Your cell phone might soon be able to tell you if you’ve caught the flu. Researchers with Japan’s NTT DoCoMo have developed a workable method of “molecular communications”—a system for the transport of microscopic samples from a user’s sweat into their phone for analysis, Computerworld reports.

Molecular communication works by using motor proteins, which transport molecules within muscles and nerve cells. The motor proteins, placed in a glass substrate with a path to a DNA analysis chip, ferry the sample between your face and the chip with no electricity required. Of course, “DNA analysis chips” still have yet to be developed. But NTT DoCoMo is confident they can have phones fully capable of biometric analysis in the next 10 years.