It is no surprise that more than 91.4 million Americans use a smartphone. The devices are so much more than a phone - they are a world of knowledge right in the palms of our hands. And now, they can even monitor our health. Technology company Azoi has launched a smartphone case that can measure key vital signs.
The health tracker is called Wello. It consists of a number of sensors that are embedded into a case that fits onto a smartphone.
When held up with both hands, the sensors can measure a series of vital signs, including blood pressure, heart rate, temperature and blood oxygen. It also comes with an add-on device that can measure lung function.
The data is then sent to a Wello app that can be downloaded onto the smartphone. This allows users to have quick access to their health information and even track trends that may indicate they are becoming ill.
Wello can also connect with other health and fitness devices, such as pedometers and sleep monitors. Furthermore, it has remote access, meaning it can monitor and track the vital signs of family members.
Wello could enable earlier detection of health problems
Hamish Patel, CEO and founder of Azoi, says that Wello can help individuals regularly monitor their vital signs, allowing earlier detection of heart disease and other health problems.
"All too often health problems go undetected until they are too late to address.
We believe that through improved self-awareness of key vitals, technology could very easily reduce the incidence and impact of a wide range of illnesses and diseases."
In addition, Patel says the device could help ease the growing burden on health care services.
Wello is currently available for preorder in the US, UK, Canada, China, India, Hong Kong, Singapore and across the European Union. The device is priced at $199 (£120) and - dependent on approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) - will be shipped later this year.
It is compatible with all iOS and Android KitKat phones with BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy).
Wello is currently available as a case for the iPhone and as an individual insert for use with all other smartphones, but Azoi plans to offer the device in the form of an Android phone case in the future.
Watch an introduction to Wello below:
Smartphones and the medical world
Although Wello is the first vital signs monitoring device to be incorporated with a cell phone case, it is not the first device to measure vitals and send them to a smartphone.
Last year, Medical News Today reported on a device called the Scanadu Scout. By placing the gadget to the forehead, it can read a person's vital signs in 10 seconds and send the data to a Scanadu smartphone app via bluetooth.
And it is not only the measurement of vital signs that smartphones are being used for in the medical world.
We recently reported on two new smartphone apps that the creators say can detect epilepsy and improve the care of stroke patients.
Another study detailed the development of a smartphone device that can test for kidney damage, while other research talks of a smartphone eye testing kit that can diagnose cataracts, check prescriptions for vision lenses, and check the retina for signs of disease.
As well as detecting signs of illness, the cell phone is being incorporated into the medical research field. Last year, we reported on the creation of a smartphone microscope that can identify viruses and particles less than one-thousandth the width of a human hair.