Smart phone helps disease researchers

EDINBURGH scientists are part of a team using smart phone location tracking technology to predict the spread of infectious diseases.

Technology specialists at Edinburgh Napier University are working with Imperial College London on the use of "geo" - information available from location tracking devices - to record the nature and frequency of interactions between individuals to understand how infections spread.

The conclusion of this research should provide important clues on how quickly a pandemic might occur.

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With location-tracking technology in handheld devices such as smart phones it is now possible to track the path of an infected person and their contacts with one metre accuracy.

Dr William J Knottenbelt, who leads the research team at Imperial College, says the work aims to understand how individuals interact within a healthcare environment.