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Cellphones Handhelds Medicine United Kingdom Idle

Pee On Your Phone STD Test 208

Posted by samzenpus
from the there's-a-drippy-app-for-that dept.
Shakrai writes "British health officials are hard at work on a new app that will allow users to pee into their cell phones and find out within minutes if they have an STD. From the article: 'Doctors and technology experts are developing small devices, similar to pregnancy testing kits, that will tell someone quickly and privately if they have caught an infection through sexual contact. People who suspect they have been infected will be able to put urine or saliva on to a computer chip about the size of a USB chip, plug it into their phone or computer and receive a diagnosis within minutes, telling them which, if any, sexually transmitted infection (STI) they have. Seven funders, including the Medical Research Council, have put £4m into developing the technology via a forum called the UK Clinical Research Collaboration.'"

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Pee On Your Phone STD Test

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  • really? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by adeelarshad82 (1482093) * on Tuesday November 09, 2010 @10:31AM (#34173370) Homepage
    not sure i'm going to want to hold that phone again
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      At least read the summary:

      People who suspect they have been infected will be able to put urine or saliva on to a computer chip about the size of a USB chip, plug it into their phone or computer and receive a diagnosis within minutes, telling them which, if any, sexually transmitted infection (STI) they have.

      Bad headline. You aren't peeing on the phone, you're peeing on a slide that contains a chip that you plug into the phone.

      • Re:really? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Shakrai (717556) * on Tuesday November 09, 2010 @10:50AM (#34173670) Journal

        Bad headline

        Blame the editors, I used a different headline when I submitted the article.

        • Re:really? (Score:5, Funny)

          by HappyClown (668699) on Tuesday November 09, 2010 @11:11AM (#34173918)

          Blame the editors, I used a different headline when I submitted the article.

          Let's not start a pissing match

          • Re:really? (Score:5, Funny)

            by suomynonAyletamitlU (1618513) on Tuesday November 09, 2010 @11:51AM (#34174474)

            I guess they thought it would make a bigger splash.

          • by Stregano (1285764)
            With the new technology out, you can pee on a thumb drive looking thing during your match and you can also know whether you have an STD or not. I guess if you are in a pissing match, it would probably be nice to know if you had a std beforehand
            • by slick7 (1703596)

              With the new technology out, you can pee on a thumb drive looking thing during your match and you can also know whether you have an STD or not. I guess if you are in a pissing match, it would probably be nice to know if you had a std beforehand

              If I stick it up my ass, will it tell me if I have hemorrhoids or if I need a colonoscopy?

      • by Eraesr (1629799)
        I'm not really sure what the application of this is. Why not simply make a stand-alone STD test that doesn't require a phone. I mean, it has worked for pregnancy tests for years. I'm pretty sure you don't need a 1GHz Snapdragon CPU to determine if you've got hepatitis or not.
        • Re:really? (Score:4, Insightful)

          by camperdave (969942) on Tuesday November 09, 2010 @11:23AM (#34174110) Journal
          I'm not really sure what the application of this is.

          So your results can be transmitted to medical authorities.
        • why create an expensive device with more components when you can keep your production costs really low, and your potential user-base really high (due to the much lower selling cost) if you can just use the powerful hardware in other prevalent devices instead?

          This way they only need to produce a sensor chip addon, and software to read it that uses the processing power in the phone.

          • why create an expensive device with more components when you can keep your production costs really low, and your potential user-base really high (due to the much lower selling cost) if you can just use the powerful hardware in other prevalent devices instead?

            Because not all of your audience has "other prevalent devices". They'd need to make a version for iPhone as well as every Android phone, BlackBerry phone, and "feature phone" out there. I don't think they'll get around to making one for my Audiovox 8610.

            • but ignore the iPhone and it's proprietary lock in (with a smaller market share anyway), and you can make a microUSB device which can connect to by far the majority of phones, and then all you have to worry about is your software being portable.

          • by skids (119237)

            Though some of the biological analysis software like this has been made to run on the phone itself, mostly that would be for use in dead-zone undeveloped countries. Likely the real reason here is that the phone can connect and send data to a more powerful system on the Internet for processing, except in cases where the chip itself can produce the result.

            But right you are, it's to reuse existing hardware -- in this case, the USB OTG port or SDRAM slot, and the already-configured data link. And more power

        • Re:really? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Tuesday November 09, 2010 @11:58AM (#34174568)

          I'm not really sure what the application of this is.

          The summary lists "test yourself" as the main application, but I think the real application will be "test the other person". If it becomes socially acceptable to ask for a saliva sample before having sex, this could put a real dent in STD rates.

          Why not simply make a stand-alone STD test that doesn't require a phone.

          Because it would cost more.

          I mean, it has worked for pregnancy tests for years.

          Pregnancy related hormones are far, far more concentrated in the urine than antibodies to STDs.

          I'm pretty sure you don't need a 1GHz Snapdragon CPU ...

          You don't need 1GHz, but you do need a CPU. Since everyone already has a cellphone, you don't need another CPU to do the analysis or another device to display the result.

          • by Belial6 (794905)
            I presumed that the analysis wouldn't actually be done on the phone. That the raw data would be transmitted to a lab, and the results displayed on the phone. That would be the easiest way to make porting to various platforms easier.
          • by cayenne8 (626475)
            "I think the real application will be "test the other person". If it becomes socially acceptable to ask for a saliva sample before having sex, this could put a real dent in STD rates."

            Yeah, like that won't kill the moment.

            [rolls eyes]

            Hell, in the heat of the moment, it is hard enough to stop and think about putting on a freakin' condom, must less getting someone to stop, and pee on a small target.

            I mean, ok, some people might be doing a golden showers thing, but that's still pretty edge of the norm, eh

        • The same reason diabetes testing equipment consists of a set of disposable strips that collect the blood and a reusable hand-held device that analyzes the results. Can you imagine what those testing strips would cost if they had to include not just the channels for collecting the blood but also all the electronics to analyze and display the results?
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        there should be tags for sarcasm
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by ArhcAngel (247594)

        Would you have even looked at the article if the headline had been different? The headline is perfect and my entire office just laughed their asses of at cooking their testicles and then peeing on their phone.

    • After that, you might hold your (albeit maybe slightly yellowy tinged) iPhone 4 in such an awkward way as to completely eliminate the antenna issue...

  • by Drakkenmensch (1255800) on Tuesday November 09, 2010 @10:34AM (#34173418)
    Doesn't take a wizz to see they're going for number one!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 09, 2010 @10:34AM (#34173422)
    Want to know if the skank you brought home is clean? There's an app for that...
    • by nospam007 (722110) *

      You got the clap? There's an app for that.

      • by paiute (550198)

        You got the clap? There's an app for that.

        I'm seeing syntergy here. Postive test for an STD? Cook it out of your junk with laptop heat!

  • In response to this, Nintendo has unveiled their first foray into the smartphone market.

    The Nintendo Wee.

  • by Sponge Bath (413667) on Tuesday November 09, 2010 @10:42AM (#34173524)
    Will it automatically tie in with your Facebook account to alert your friends and family? It's a magical world we live in.
  • He thought Jenn Streger was a team doctor and he was trying to give his phone a sample!!!!!!!!
  • ...you'd think people with smartphones have the money and sense to use protection.

    However, this would be great for health professionals who work where there's no easy access to medical facilities.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Shakrai (717556) *

      ...you'd think people with smartphones have the money and sense to use protection.

      Well, protection only reduces your chance of contracting certain diseases, it does not eliminate it. It's also less than effective on certain (herpes) STIs than is commonly believed.

      Monogamy > protection. Added bonus: Not having to use condoms. That interface didn't evolve with a piece of latex in mind....

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        I don't practice monogamy, I never need condoms, but I still have zero risk of STD.

        • Living in your mother's basement will do that for you.

        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by Anitech (1208966)

          I don't practice monogamy, I never need condoms, but I still have zero risk of STD.

          Switching between your left and right hand still counts as a single partner.

        • by vlm (69642)

          Sheep jokes are NZ not UK. Almost at opposite points of the planet.
          UK jokes are supposed to be all about the irony, which Americans don't understand and think is something only blacksmiths and steelworkers use.

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by gstoddart (321705)

            Sheep jokes are NZ not UK. Almost at opposite points of the planet.

            Well, Scotland and Wales are in the UK -- I know for sure I've heard many a Scotsman/sheep joke.

            Never really been sure what the Welsh are saying though -- there could be sheep involved. It's hard to tell.

      • Monogamy > protection.

        Apparently you've never heard of viruses that lie dormant... or monogamy that isn't quite as monogamous as you thought/hoped/believed.

      • by cayenne8 (626475)
        "Monogamy > protection. Added bonus: Not having to use condoms. "

        Yeah, but your stuck with the same chick over, and over, and over.....

        Some of us like variety...without having to risk losing half our shit when we want to upgrade to a newer model.

    • by amentajo (1199437)

      My phone r smart so I dont have 2!

    • by sorak (246725)

      My wife works at a grocery store, and I am surprised at how many teenagers I see, both there, and, occasionally, at fast food restaurants who are typing away on cheap blackberrys during their break.(I haven't seen many iPhones or androids, however). Meanwhile, I know of a few competent coworkers (outside of IT) who do not have smart phones.

  • Camera Testing? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Doc Ruby (173196) on Tuesday November 09, 2010 @10:48AM (#34173632) Homepage Journal

    How about a little rig with capillary tubes etched throughout a couple of thin plastic plates that you touch edgewise to some urine or blood, that pulls the fluid through, then snaps into a little frame attached to the phone's camera lens. All calibrated to give image data to a server that looks for interactions of disease causes/products with the sizes, shapes and materials in the tubes. Then sends results back to the phone. The little rig should be small and cheap enough to dispense in nightclub bathrooms or drugstores, neater than a pregnancy test, and without leaving any analysis up to the user's eyesight, manual dexterity or intelligence.

    The people we most want getting prompt STD infection results are the ones who already aren't competent to keep safe by practicing safe sex. And other infectious diseases are just a little further back in the "evolution safety skills" stack. "Foolproof" is the #1 design objective, because fools have a higher rate of being the most important user segment.

    • by gstoddart (321705)

      The people we most want getting prompt STD infection results are the ones who already aren't competent to keep safe by practicing safe sex.

      There isn't really such things as "safe" sex, but "safer" sex. Meaning "less risky", but not "risk free". If you come in contact with someone else, there's always a risk.

      Full body latex and a gas mask might get you "safe sex" though. Of course, that's not for everyone. :-P

      • by Doc Ruby (173196)

        Latex bodysuit and gas mask mainly mean abstinence, which is the only 100.0% safe sex. But marathon running - because it's not sex.

        However, since there are other ways of contracting most STDs other than sex, even sexual abstinence isn't "100% safe", if you don't abstain from other possible causes.

        It's all probabilities. Which for me and most people means some kind of sex is safe enough, and nothing is 100%.

        • by gstoddart (321705)

          Latex bodysuit and gas mask mainly mean abstinence

          I guess it depends on how you define abstinence, really. :-P

          People like he damnedest things.

    • by Plazmid (1132467)
      One reason the researchers might be suggesting a device that plugs into the phone, is that the microfluidic chip might require power. The detection process might require a PCR step(and yes, PCR can be done in 'CSI plot device' timeframes) this takes power. Bodily fluids are often quite viscous and might need to be pumped through the device. This would be especially necessary if part of the detection process involved mixing the bodily fluids with reagents as on small size scales(low Re, unless the fluid's go
    • by danlip (737336)

      The people we most want getting prompt STD infection results are the ones who already aren't competent to keep safe by practicing safe sex.

      And you still can't get prompt results, it takes up to 6 months between initial infection and when you test positive for many STDs. If you go to a clinic they will drill that into your head, but with an over the counter test the buyer might remain clueless and think they are STD free when they are really spreading the disease around. Nobody will read the fine print on the test.

      "Foolproof" is the #1 design objective, because fools have a higher rate of being the most important user segment.

      hilarious

  • If this doesn't stop cell phone theft, nothing will.
  • Can a hack to test for midi-chlorian count be far behind?

  • ...is it Open Sores?!

  • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Tuesday November 09, 2010 @10:51AM (#34173680) Homepage Journal

    People who pee on their phones are less likely to get any sexually transmitted disease, because they're less likely to get any sex (with another person, anyway).

    However, those phone peeing people who do get sex are more likely to catch something dirty, given the kind of people who will have sex with them.

    The use stats of a device like this could tell us quite a lot about human nature.

  • by Stooshie (993666)
    Well, I've got good news and bad news. The good news you are clear of STDs. The bad news is your phone is buggered!
  • Why a cell phone? Why not just a usb dongle + software?

    • by vlm (69642)

      Why a cell phone? Why not just a usb dongle + software?

      Almost certainly so they (govt, etc) can track down people with positive results. At some point in the device is a microcontroller pin where OK = H and infected = L (maybe open collector from multiple sensors who knows). The app on the phone merely reads binary 0 or 1 and then promptly, probably literally, phones home to report. You could probably find that pin on the embedded microcontroller, feed in +5 and hook up an LED if you want privacy.

      Given the UK attitude toward cameras being the miracle cure fo

      • by digitig (1056110)

        I figure the other use is to snap a candid pic of the newly positive, for like a reality show or something.

        Considering the shot it's going to get, that show is only going to air on rather -- er -- specialist channels.

    • I don't ever want my dongle to become software...
  • There's an app for that!

  • No, wait ...

    Salty?

  • According to a study commissioned by Microsoft [tmcnet.com] "Nineteen percent have dropped their mobile phone in the toilet while using the phone in a restroom."

    I was wondering why Microsoft would ask about that. Now I know.
  • by OzPeter (195038) on Tuesday November 09, 2010 @11:05AM (#34173858)

    Not all STDs can be tested for via a urine test, but if average person pee's and detects no infection it may actually give them a false sense of security and thus help increase infection rates of STDs that require blood or other tests.

    The above could also lead to a game of "lets pee on the phone *before* we have sex and if we both come up clean then we can ditch the condoms" - yeah that'll help infection rates

    Some previous responses have said "People who can afford smart phones are smart enough to use protection". I'll counter with "People who can afford smart phones can also afford alcohol, and alcohol and urgency will decrease protection usage"

    Finally what is the false negative rate of this test

    • Some previous responses have said "People who can afford smart phones are smart enough to use protection". I'll counter with "People who can afford smart phones can also afford alcohol, and alcohol and urgency will decrease protection usage"

      I'll counter it by saying that people who have a lot of money don't have to think about tackling problems and finding workarounds, since they can always buy brand new stuff. On a more general note, being smart enough to make nice amounts of money doesn't necessarily mean you make smart choices in life.

    • by jimicus (737525)

      Some previous responses have said "People who can afford smart phones are smart enough to use protection". I'll counter with "People who can afford smart phones can also afford alcohol, and alcohol and urgency will decrease protection usage"

      People who come up with responses like that haven't looked at the mobile phone market lately. Sony Ericsson have an Android phone with a 2.5" screen out, and it's pretty cheap (Pretty plasticky too, but that's Sony Ericsson for you). Samsung are producing their own smartphone platform which it seems many - if not all - of their future handsets will run.

      IMV, it won't be long before non-smartphones are consigned to the same history book as phones with black & white screens and no camera. 3-5 years at

  • What I'd like to know is, does this test have the problem of most STD tests where you have to wait ~6 months after infection to get a positive result, since it only detects STD-antibodies (and not the STD itself) and it takes about that long for them to build up sufficiently high?

  • WARNING (Score:3, Funny)

    by jbuck (579032) <jtbuck@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Tuesday November 09, 2010 @11:15AM (#34173992)
    This may be a fake article... I just tried it with my HTC Droid Incredible and I can report that it does NOT work as TFA title advertised. In fact, my screen is kinda blanking out now. Does my phone need to be rooted or something?

    .

    related note: Used HTC Inc for sale. Froyo. Almost like new. almost. Cheap!

  • by godrik (1287354)

    Am I the only one that smiled at the "handheld" tag ? :)

  • and you all laughed about the telephone cleaners being sent to the new Earth. HA! HA! Who's laughing now?!

  • When this app hits the market, someone should see what permissions it's asking for.

    I can see it now - uploads to an auto-twitter-updater. "LOL @Soandso has herpes!"

  • I wonder how many minutes into release day before someone doesn't read the instructions and just PEES ON THEIR PHONE.

  • Then they are adult enough to buy and use condoms in the first place.

    • by Americano (920576)

      Condoms break. They are not foolproof. Otherwise responsible people also get drunk, or high, or stupid, and do things which later cause them to think "WTF was I thinking??!!"

      There are numerous reasons why people might choose to use a device like this.

      Assuming that use of a condom makes you invincible is, perversely, an indicator of immature thinking and displays a fundamental lack of awareness of the risks inherent to any sexual behavior.

      • I am not assuming condoms make you invincible. I am aware of their flaws. However thinking that a device like this is going to stop the spread of STDs is an indicator of immature thinking. If the young people they are targeting are not mature enough to attempt to use condoms, and are not mature enough to seek medical attention when they think they have an STD (read the article is says this right out) then this device will do absolutely nothing.

        Public health experts are concerned that, although most STIs

        • by Americano (920576) on Tuesday November 09, 2010 @02:19PM (#34176436)

          "Many are too embarrassed to get tested."

          Not "many are too embarrassed to get treated." And in fact, having a "diagnosis" of sorts to share with a doctor as a framework for the discussion will probably help them deal with the embarrassment.

          Many people - at widely varying ages - are nervous about discussing things with their doctor, and most of it stems from fear of the unknown. "I have this burning feeling when I pee, but it's probably just irritation, and will go away, no need to bother the doctor about it."

          Having a test that's convenient and private means that the people who don't want to bother the doctor with something that's "probably no big deal" can test themselves, and seek treatment if the test is positive; It can also be used by people who are normally "safe" but who experience a broken condom, or a regrettable lapse of judgement.

          Arguing that there's no need, market, or benefit to this is stupid. If you had to go to the doctor every time you needed your blood pressure, blood sugar, or other things tested... how many people do you think would be walking around as hypertensive diabetics with advanced atherosclerosis until they keeled over from a massive coronary at age 55? I'm betting it'd be a lot higher if the tools for "home testing" weren't available.

  • This is a joke, right?

  • by slapout (93640)

    We could do that. Or, you know, spend the money explaining to people how to not get the STDs in the first place.

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