Smart thermometer can track flu activity in real time; can predict how infection will spread
A “smart thermometer” connected to a mobile phone app can track flu activity in real time and help predict how the infection will spread, scientists say.
“We found the smart thermometer data are highly correlated with information obtained from traditional public health surveillance systems and can be used to improve forecasting of influenza-like illness activity, possibly giving warnings of changes in disease activity weeks in advance,” said Aaron Miller, a postdoctoral scholar at University of Iowa (UI) in the US.
“Using simple forecasting models, we showed that thermometer data could be effectively used to predict influenza levels up to two to three weeks into the future,” said Miller.
“Given that traditional surveillance systems provide data with a lag time of one to two weeks, this means that estimates of future flu activity may actually be improved up to four or five weeks earlier,” he said.
Scientists analysed de-identified data from a commercially available thermometer and accompanying app, which recorded users’ temperature measurement over a study period from 2015 to 2017.
There were over 8 million temperature readings generated by almost 450,000 unique devices.
The smart thermometers encrypt device identities to protect user privacy and also give users the option of providing anonymised information on age or …read more