Monitor Your Cholesterol Levels By Taking a Selfie

Well, sort of.

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When Obama took a now-infamous selfie with European leaders at Nelson Mandela’s memorial service last week, maybe he was just checking his cholesterol.

Okay, probably not. But you never know, because there’s a new device that allows you to use your iPhone to determine your cholesterol level in a minute. Developed by engineers at Cornell, the Smartphone Cholesterol Application for Rapid Diagnostics, also known as the “smartCARD,” aims to replace more complicated cholesterol-testing systems. As News-Medical.Net explains, the engineers “created a smartphone accessory that optically detects biomarkers in a drop of blood, sweat or saliva.”

So think of it as a biological selfie, since you still have to draw bodily fluids and place them on the device’s test strip. It seems easy enough to use, though: It looks kind of like a smartphone credit card reader and it clamps over the phone’s camera. It comes with a built-in flash to illuminate the test strip within the device, and a minute after you take your “selfie,” the results appear on the screen.

For now, the test only measures total cholesterol, but the engineers are working to break it down into categories that would include “good” cholesterol and “bad” cholesterol. They’re also developing a similar system to measure Vitamin D levels, so stay tuned for that.