Google acquires Indian professor's health monitoring startup Senois Health

Google has acquired Senosis Health, a start up founded by University of Washington professor Shwetak Patel, the media reported. The Seattle-based startup turns smartphones into medical devices and collects various health stats, according to a report in The Verge.

With the use of functions on a smartphone including its accelerometer, microphone, flash and camera, the Senosis apps can monitor lung health and haemoglobin counts, among other things, according to the report. For instance, to measure haemoglobin, Senosis' app uses the phone's flash to illuminate a user's finger.

It marked the latest acquisition for Patel, whose past startup ventures have landed in the hands of companies such as Belkin International and Sears, according to Geekwire.com which first reported the acquisition.

Patel, a co-founder of the company with four others, is a professor at University of Washington's computer science and engineering faculty. According to a biography at University of Washington website, Patel also co-founded Zensi, a demand-side energy monitoring solutions provider, was acquired by Belkin in 2010.

Patel is also a co-founder of a low-power wireless sensor platform company called SNUPI Technologies and a consumer home sensing product called WallyHome that Sears acquired in 2015.

With SpiroSmart and SpiroCall apps, the microphone of a phone can be used to measure the lung function. With SpiroSmart, the microphone works as a spirometer, while SpiroCall, offers the option to call a toll free number, to check the same – extended to those who are not having a smartphone.

With the microphone functioning as a spirometer, the app can screen for asthma, pulmonary illness or cystic fibrosis.

Another app BiliCam makes use of the camera to screen for newborn jaundice disease. The app looks for amounts of bilirubin in the blood by examining wavelengths of light absorbed by the skin.

The company said apart from screening, the apps could also help monitor nutritional well being in communities eliminating the need of expensive blood draws.