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This smartphone app can detect skin cancer

Emily Price

You can already use your smartphone to do things like hail a pimp ride home or order an artisan pizza, obviously the next step is cancer detection, right? Researchers at the University of Houston think they've created a smartphone app that can detect melanoma even better than your doctor. Called DermoScan, the app works by taking a photo of your odd-shaped mole, and then analyzing it to determine if it might be cancerous. Initial testing found that DermoScan was able to identify skin cancer roughly 85 percent of the time, making it just as effective as visiting a dermatologist and even better at diagnosing melanoma than the average primary care physician. Don't head over to the app store just yet. The app requires a special $500 magnifying glass to make the magic happen -- not exactly more cost effective than a trip to the old MD.

It might not make sense for the average American to shell out five bills for the necessary equipment to use DermoScan, but the app could be big news for developing countries and rural areas where there isn't a primary physician for people to see. One device could potentially diagnose an entire village. Paired with something like Wello's tricorder-esque iPhone case, an 5S could become a powerful tool in helping an entire town determine if they need to travel to see a doctor -- all for less than your average trip to the ER.

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