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Mumbai: The TouchHb was unveiled at the annual TED conference in California in 2012. Here’s how it works: a person wears a fingerprobe embedded with tiny diodes that sends signals to an iPad-sized device that measures whether the person wearing the probe has anaemia or not—in a minute.

That’s a huge improvement over traditional haemoglobin tests that require blood to be drawn from a finger.

The ease and time involved make the TouchHb an especially important device, especially in India, where, according to its website, around 136,000 women die during childbirth every year from complications arising from anaemia—for which they have not been tested during pregnancy. Some of the women aren’t tested because they refuse to have blood drawn from a finger.

The company behind the device is Biosense, which has since also launched uChek, unveiled at this year’s TED conference. This one uses the imaging function and an app on a phone to test urine. “Cellphones, everybody has them. And everybody pees," co-founder and TED fellow Myshkin Ingawale was reported as having told the audience, according to a March report in The Economic Times. Three Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) graduates—Abhishek Sen, Yogesh Patil and Aman Midha—are the other co-founders of the company, whose sole focus, according to Ingawale, is on innovation, smart technologies and reducing cost per test and inconvenience to the end-user.

For instance, the uChek can diagnose a range of conditions, such as diabetes, urinary tract infection and hepatitis, based on snapshots of urine samples. It costs just around 1,000, compared with the 50,000 most pathology labs invest in urine-testing equipment. Ingawale said uChek has generated a great deal of interest among patients, physicians and clinical organizations. “The uChek app has been approved by Apple, and will be releasing in India and the US on 2 May. We have already started booking pre-orders. The uChek app, downloadable from the app store, is priced at 99 cents and the uChek kit, purchasable from our website, is priced at $20 till 20 May and thereafter at $40," he said.

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