It's never fun feeling ill, especially if you don't know what's up with you. But soon you might just have to spit on the screen of your phone to get an instant diagnosis.
A team of scientists from the Korea Advanced Institute for Science and Technology in Daejeon think touchscreens could replace the need for blood tests, urine samples and lab work, report New Scientist.
The idea is to use the way a touchscreen detects fingertips to analyse your saliva. Most (good) touchscreens are capacitive -- that is, they work based on the fact your finger contains an element of electric charge. But most capacitive touchscreens are far more sensitive than we really need.
In fact, they're so sensitive that they can be used to analyse the contents of your spittle. So far, the guys from Korea have done some experiments with the bacteria that cause chlamydia on an iPhone-sized multitouch display. With that, they can work out what concentration of bacteria are present. They're working on developing the technique to spot more than just chlamydia, but for now, console yourself with the fact that your iPhone can tell if you have an STD.
Just make sure you clean the screen properly afterwards, right? [New Scientist]