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Wednesday,28-September-2022

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Smartphone’s camera, flash can measure blood oxygen up to 70% at home

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A team of US researchers has found that smartphones are capable of detecting blood oxygen saturation levels down to 70 per cent — the lowest value a pulse oximeters should be able to measure.

The proof-of-principle research by University of Washington (UW) and University of California San Diego researchers involved participants placing their finger over the camera and flash of a smartphone, which uses a deep-learning algorithm to decipher the blood oxygen levels.

When the team delivered a controlled mixture of nitrogen and oxygen to six subjects to artificially bring their blood oxygen levels down, the smartphone correctly predicted whether the subject had low blood oxygen levels 80 per cent of the time.

“Other smartphone apps that do this were developed by asking people to hold their breath. But people get very uncomfortable and have to breathe after a minute or so, and that’s before their blood-oxygen levels have gone down far enough to represent the full range of clinically relevant data,” said co-lead author Jason Hoffman from University of Washington.

“With our test, we’re able to gather 15 minutes of data from each subject. Our data shows that smartphones could work well right in the critical threshold range,” Hoffman said in the study published in npj Digital Medicine.

Another benefit of measuring blood oxygen levels on a smartphone is that almost everyone has one.

“This way you could have multiple measurements with your own device at either no cost or low cost,” added co-author Dr. Matthew Thompson, professor of family medicine in the UW School of Medicine.

This would be really beneficial for telemedicine appointments to be able to quickly determine whether patients need to go to the emergency department or if they can continue to rest at home and make an appointment with their primary care provider later.

To gather data to train and test the algorithm, the researchers had each participant wear a standard pulse oximeter on one finger and then place another finger on the same hand over a smartphone’s camera and flash.

The researchers used data from the participants to train a deep learning algorithm to pull out the blood oxygen levels. The remainder of the data was used to validate the method and then test it to see how well it performed on new subjects.

“The camera records how much that blood absorbs the light from the flash in each of the three colour channels it measures: red, green and blue,” said senior author Edward Wang, assistant professor at UC San Diego.

The team hopes to continue this research by testing the algorithm on more people.

Tech

WhatsApp discloses critical bug in older versions, now patched

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Meta-owned WhatsApp has revealed a critical bug that could affect older installations on various devices that have not been updated with latest software versions.

The vulnerability could allow an attacker to exploit a code error known as an integer overflow.

“An integer overflow in WhatsApp for Android prior to v2.22.16.12, Business for Android prior to v2.22.16.12, iOS prior to v2.22.16.12, Business for iOS prior to v2.22.16.12 could result in remote code execution in an established video call,” WhatsApp said in an update.

In remote code execution, a hacker can remotely execute commands on someone else’s computing device.

Remote code executions (RCEs) usually occur due to malicious malware downloaded by the host and can happen regardless of the device’s geographic location.

The recently disclosed vulnerability has been called CVE-2022-36934, with a severity score of 9.8 out of 10 on the CVE scale.

WhatsApp also revealed details of another bug that could have caused remote code execution when receiving a crafted video file.

Both of these vulnerabilities have been patched in the latest versions of WhatsApp.

WhatsApp on Monday announced it was rolling out Call Links to make it easier to start and join a call in just one tap.

The company also started testing secured and encrypted group video calls for up to 32 people on WhatsApp.

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Tech

PM Modi set to gift 5G services to Indians on Oct 1

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The National Broadband Mission (NBM) under the Ministry of Communications on Saturday tweeted (and later deleted) that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will officially roll out the 5G services in India on October 1 — the same day when the India Mobile Congress (IMC) kicks off which will heavily focus on 5G and related domains.

All the top telecom honchos — including Reliance Industries Chairman and Managing Director Mukesh Ambani and Founder and Chairman of Bharti Enterprises Sunil Bharti Mittal — are scheduled to join the keynote address at the sixth edition of the IMC that will take place at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi, from October 1-4.

“Taking India’s digital transformation & connectivity to new heights, Hon’ble PM, @narendramodi, will roll out 5G services in India; at India Mobile Congress; Asia’s largest technology exhibition,” read the screenshot of the tweet (now deleted from the NBM handle).

The event will see participation from telecom gear manufacturers and other industry stakeholders, in the presence of IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw.

According to sources, the government may showcase some successful 5G testbeds being run in the country by Reliance Jio, Airtel and Vodafone Idea at the IMC 2022, jointly organised by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) and the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI).

During his Independence Day address from the ramparts of the Red Fort, the Prime Minister had said that the 5G services will be launched in India soon.

Vaishnaw last month said the government expects 5G services to be rolled out in the country by October 12, and the Centre will make sure that the prices are affordable for the consumers.

Vaishnaw said that installations are being done and telecom operations are busy with the seamless rollout of 5G services.

The government will ensure that the 5G plans remain affordable for the public, the minister said.

The 5G services would be rolled out in a phased manner and during the first phase, 13 cities are likely to get the 5G internet services.

The cities are Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chandigarh, Chennai, Delhi, Gandhinagar, Gurugram, Hyderabad, Jamnagar, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai and Pune.

Just like 3G and 4G, telcos will soon announce dedicated 5G tariff plans and according to industry experts, consumers may pay more to access the 5G services on their devices.

An immediate tariff war with the launch of 5G is unlikely, but it “will be competitive as India continues to be a price-conscious market”.

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National News

Agnikul to launch Agnibaan rocket before 2022

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Private sector rocket maker Agnikul Cosmos is pushing itself hard to have its first test launch before the end of 2022, said a top official.

“We are planning to test launch our rocket Agnibaan before 2022 end. Our plan is to launch the rocket from a mobile launch pad. The test launch will happen from India’s rocket port Sriharikota belonging to Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), Srinath Ravichandran, Co-founder and CEO, Agnikul Cosmos told IANS.

Queried about the payload to be carried, Ravichandran said it will be a dummy payload.

Agnibaan is a two stage rocket with 100 kg payload capacity to orbits around 700 km high (low Earth orbits) and enables plug-and-play configuration.

The company recently opened its first 3D printed rocket engine factory located at the IIT Madras Research Park.

The factory has been designed keeping in mind the ability to produce two rocket engines per week for its rocket Agnibaan.

When queried about plans to have the test launch sometime next month S.R. Chakravarthy, Professor and Head, National Centre for Combustion Research and Development, IIT Madras and Advisor to Agnikul told IANS: “We have been working towards it all the while but nothing is fixed yet.”

According to Ravichandran, the plan is to have the test launch before the end of 2022.

He also said the ISRO is rendering great help to Agnikul.

The Agnikul and ISRO have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) last year, enabling access to the former to ISRO facilities and expertise towards the development and testing of subsystems/systems of Space Launch Vehicles.

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