An iPhone app that can detect skin cancer

January 31, 2012



A screengrab of the app in action.
A screengrab of the Skin Scan app in action. Photo: iTunes


The illustration above shows a mobile phone app that allows people to analyse their moles for cancer risk. This is a new and useful tool but the Cancer Society of New Zealand warns that it should not be used in isolation – rather used as an alert system.

Skin Scan is an application for iPhones. To utilise the app you need to take a photo of any  mole that may be of concern in order to find out whether it is a cancer risk. It is suggested that you seek medical advice if your moles change in appearance. The app calculates the mole’s shape and surrounding skin and studies the tissue growth patterns of your mole to decide whether any specific mole appears to show abnormal development. Results are colour coded – a green code suggests a lesion of low risk; a yellow code translates as medium risk; and a red result reflects a high risk of being cancerous. The app also takes into account the user’s age and gender.

The app stores your scans so that any changes to a mole can be time monitored. While this app makes it easier for people to monitor their moles the medical profession are concerned that you should not rely on this technology alone and any concerns should be followed up by a visit to your doctor. You have an increased risk of developing skin cancer if you have experienced frequent sunburn, have lots of moles, and a family history of melanoma.

One pitfall with this app is that only iPhone 4 and 4S appear to have a camera that has the image quality required to be sensitive enough to spot problems. When this app was tested on 3G and 3GS iPhones – the cameras did not provide the superior quality required. Also you need to get someone else to check any freckles or moles that you cannot see yourself. This app was originally made for the Australian market where skin melanomas are a high risk problem and not the UK market.

The Skin Scan app has been released by the Romanian company ‘Cronian Labs’ and can be bought for approximately $5.49 – check it out at the Apple app store iTunes . If you are considering upgrading your smartphone for an iPhone 4 or 4S please check out our ‘Buy Online’ information on this website.

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Health & Fitness Apps 2012

January 30, 2012

There are an exciting range of apps available to help you take control of your wellbeing and to help you maintain your resolution to maximise your fitness in 2012.

NHS  – free apps

The NHS Quit smoking app provides you with instant tips and advice on how to quit smoking as well as a timer that tells you how long you have been smoke free – plus it tells you how much money you have saved by abstaining. The NHS Direct free app will help you deal with a range of medical problems – you can also be reassured by the in-app call feature to speak to an NHS Direct Nurse to save you waiting in your doctor’s surgery.

Instant heart rate – free app/ upgrade 69p

This app reads your heart rate by using the phone’s built in camera: cover the lens with your index fingure to measure your beats per minute (BPM). The upgrade is well worth the investment of 69p as it will measure your heart rate recovery after exercise – this is a key fitness indicator. It will also keep a record of you heart rate for future reference.

Moodkit – £2.99 for iPhone

If you suffer from SAD (seasonal affective disorder) or depression Moodkit is the way to reduce your depression and stress levels by practising behavioural cognitive therapy techniques to reduce your down days. The app has been developed by clinical psychologists who suggest a number of activities to lift or change your mood and helps you, step by step, deal with stressful situations. It suggests you keep a daily journal of your moods and thoughts. This app is really valuable because it acknowledges that health and fitness involves  mental activities too.

Yoga for health -69p to £2.99 for iPhone & iPad

For 69p invest in Yoga Stretch – this has pre-set routinesand audio instructions to talk you through the poses and you can select your own music. For 2.99 you get ‘All In Yoga HD’  for iPad giving you 300 clearly illustrated poses and you can choose from 40 different ready-made routines at a range of levels. Each position is timed and supplemented with Pranayama breathing control exercises. Great for physical and mental wellbeing.

GPS Fitness Tracking- £1.49

MAPMYRUN and MAPMYRIDE are £1.49 each – both apps enable you to use your phone’s built in GPS to track all your fitness activities. They will record your workout details, duration, distance, pace, speed, elevation, calories burned and route travelled on an interactive map – great value for money.

Fitness Builder £39.99 a month -for iPhones

Serious money for the most dedicated and motivated fitness enthusiast. Note that this app is free for the first month – it consists of a stimulating, comprehensive fitness compendium with a database of over 5,000 exercise images and videos and over 700 workouts by fitness professionals. Select a detailed gym schedule and the app will give you a range of measurements from strength to BMI – watch the muscles bulge.

Can I Eat it? – £1.99

Health & Fitness should start with a sensible diet andthe’ Can I Eat It?’  app gives you a simple way of monitoring your food shopping. To help you scrutinise food labels quickly and effortlessly scan the product’s barcode with your camera. Based on your pre-setting (e.g. sugar, wheat, dairy) the app will show you a thumbs up, or thumbs down, for any specific food item.

Your iPhone and iPad can give you the tools (apps) to maximise your health and fitness in 2012 – just go to iTunes to select those apps that appeal to you. To succeed, you need to maintain the fitness regime you have opted for and most importantly – you need an iPhone or iPad. For help in selecting the right model and best deals check out our sponsor links and guides. Have a good year!


How to protect your iPhone

January 18, 2012

If you have recently acquired an iPhone you will be aware of how brilliant they are and how thiefworthy too. Losing or having your smartphone stolen does not mean you have lost everything you prize – if you are a smart owner you will take the following advice to protect your phone and avoid a future disaster.

The basics:

Do set a passcode for your phone’s home screen and if your phone is stolen the perpetrator will have to work out your code before being able to access it. To do this go into your phone settings and select Passcode Lock. For this to work automatically, your phone must be in auto-lock mode as this ensures your phone locks after a preset time (one to five minutes).

Do add a pin code to your SIM card too as this will prevent thieves putting your SIM into their phone. Go to phone settings and select SIM card, enable security and enter a personal SIM pin code.

Do back up your phone regularly. Connect your phone to your computer daily so you have the latest back-up of your data. With the latest iPhones (4and 4S) you can store your data remotely on iCloud then if you lose your phone, your contacts, photos etc. will all be saved in the iCloud cyberspace. ICloud updates will happen automatically.

Do consider downloading a security system such as Norton Mobile Security (£24.99 ) as this will protect you through SMS commands. For example, the ‘Sneak Peek’ feature will remotely take a photo of the thief using the front-facing camera and upload the picture to an anti-theft site.

Do get your iPhone insured. Consider adding this to your home insurance as this is a better and cheaper option when compared to insuring with a network which can be expensive. Get an ‘all risks’ home insurance cover which adds extra protection for items such as phones, iPads and laptops at a monthly cost between £3.99 and £6.99. When deciding check to see that you are covered for loss and water damage and you will be offered a replacement phone. Check to see whether you are covered for calls made after your phone has been lost or stolen.

Do check the free app ‘Find my iPhone’ from iTunes – this allows you to use another device such as your iPad or computer to locate your missing iPhone on a map ( it will provide you with a Street name where your iPhone can be found. You can set a passcode lock remotely- good if you don’t have auto-lock set up on your phone. You can remotely delete all sensitive information on your lost phone and instruct it to play a sound remotely (even if set on silent) and it can display a message on your homescreen so that if someone finds it they know how to return it to you.

If you have found this information helpful please browse our other guides.