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Urine sample app lets users detect diseases with iPhones

No, Uchek doesn't involve peeing on a smartphone -- but it does help people find out if they have diabetes, urinary tract infections, and more.

Dara Kerr Former senior reporter
Dara Kerr was a senior reporter for CNET covering the on-demand economy and tech culture. She grew up in Colorado, went to school in New York City and can never remember how to pronounce gif.
Dara Kerr
The Uchek app lets users take urine samples with their smartphones. Uchek

Ever thought a smartphone could detect what was in your urine? Well, now it can. A new iPhone app, developed by MIT entrepreneur Myshkin Ingawale and unveiled at the TED conference this week, lets people take urine samples with their mobile device.

Obviously, pee and electronics don't mix, so this app instead uses the smartphone's camera to determine what's in urine. Dubbed Uchek, the app involves the user peeing into a cup, putting a color-coded urinalysis strip into the cup, taking of photo of the results, and then letting the app work its magic.

Uchek can detect up to 25 diseases, such as diabetes, urinary tract infections, and pre-clampsia. It can also measure the levels of glucose, proteins, ketones, and more. According to Wired, 1,200 sample tests showed that the app was more accurate than humans interpreting the color-coded strips.

Ingawale's goal is to help people become more aware of what health issues they might have or track their existing conditions. Ideally, it would be extra information to give to a doctor.

"The idea is to get people closer to their own information," Ingawale said at the TED conference, according to Wired. "I want people to better understand what is going on with their bodies."

Uchek is currently working its way through Apple's approval process and Ingawale is also working on an Android app, according to Wired. The app will cost 99 cents and users can buy a packet of strips and a color-coded user guide for $20.