i-sense aims to detect outbreaks of infectious disease much earlier than is currently possible.
In order to do this we are engineering a new generation of early warning sensing systems to identify outbreaks of deadly infectious diseases, such as flu, MRSA and HIV, by linking self-reported symptoms on the web to new mobile phone-connected diagnostic tests.
Our research includes work towards creating new mobile phone-connected tests to accurately diagnose infections at the point of care, for example in doctors surgeries, community centres and in developing countries. The ability of phones to connect test results into healthcare systems will help to ensure patients receive rapid follow-up care.
We are using geographical information, available from mobile-phone linked tests, to help public health systems identify unusual disease clusters and ultimately to prevent the spread of emerging infections.
We are also exploring whether the vast resource of web-based information, including symptoms reported on social media sites such as Twitter, and search queries on website such as Google, can help to identify early indicators of disease outbreaks. This could potentially allow us to detect infection even before people attend clinics, and in regions of the world that lack the resources for traditional public health systems.