New app claims to simply measure lung capacity

New app claims to simply measure lung capacity
SEATTLE -- A new app designed by the University of Washington can accurately measure your lung capacity.

For those who suffer from asthma, cystic fibrosis, or any chronic pulmonary lung problems, the app aims to make their lives easier. Currently to have lung function checked, they have to put on nose clips, put their mouth around a filter and take a deep breath in.

But with the new app, designed by UW assistant professor Schwetak Patel, the microphone is transformed into a sensor.

"It's not really the sound of the voice," he says. "What we're interested to hear is the flow rate of air as it goes out of the lungs."

Electrical engineering student Eric Larson says there are specifics and sounds they can key in on.

"That will help us convert that pressure into a flow rate," he said.

In the first round of clinical testing, it has been accurate to within 5 percent of what you' get at a hospital.

There is more testing still to come. But once the clinical testing is done, the idea is that information from the app can be sent directly to doctors, who will be alerted about any potential health issues.

There are some other lung capacity apps out there, but they are considered to be of poor quality, and are not"recommended for medical use.