Purdue engineers build software to detect hemoglobin faster

Purdue University engineers have created software that gives an accurate count of a patient's hemoglobin, enabling physicians to diagnose blood disorders more quickly.

The software is a more compact version of spectroscopic analysis, which identifies hemoglobin by absorbing visible light. The technology allows medical staff to photograph a patient's inner eyelid with a smartphone and immediately produces their hemoglobin count.

The engineers developed one algorithm to convert the low-resolution smartphone images to high-resolution digital spectral signals and another that uses those signals to measure hemoglobin in the blood.

"This technology won't replace a conventional blood test, but it gives a comparable hemoglobin count right away and is noninvasive and real-time," Young Kim, PhD, said in a news release.

Dr. Kim and his fellow engineers are working to embed the software in an app, which could enable faster diagnosis and facilitate home management of blood disorders. The app could also be helpful for healthcare providers in developing countries that do not have the infrastructure to give blood tests.

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