We are used to seeing articles and research about smartphones and how helpful they can be for logging appointments, helping remember when to take medication, giving helpful information and so forth, but there are also apps which are designed to diagnose, too.

In an article in Nature, three such apps are detailed: ResApp, Priori and ApneaApp. The all use sound to do so.

ApneaApp does what it sounds like it does: it determines when a sleeper is suffering from apnea. This is done by using sonar to monitor breathing.

ResApp diagnoses the causes of a cough by identifying the different types of cough by their sounds.

Lastly, and to my mind most interesting, Priori uses the user’s voice to determine when a person suffering with bipolar disorder might be about to have an episode. The carers and medical staff are then alerted.

As the article says, they are at different stages of development – but it sounds like they are all on their way.