Want To Be Warned Of Winter Colds Before Leaving The House? There’s An App For That


Fed up of hearing about iPad Christmases already, and want to be reminded of what winter is actually all about?

Head over to the App Store then and download the free Sickweather iOS app, which will provide you with real-time, geo-tagged alerts whenever you are about to enter a location in which a person has recently reported feeling ill.

“Choose from several illnesses, including Flu, Norovirus, Pink Eye and Whooping Cough,” the app’s creators explain enticingly.

“Sickweather uses a patent-pending process to track and map reports of illness … Reports are represented by blue “SICK” map markers — tap them for more information of exactly when they were reported. Some viruses can survive on surfaces for up to 48 hours and can have a viral life cycle of 2 weeks, so we color-code more recent reports as RED within 1 day, ORANGE within 2 days, YELLOW within 1 week, and we include reports as old as 2 weeks in BLUE.”

How exactly does it work? By constantly scanning social networks like Twitter and Facebook for indicators of illness (such as a person using the word “sick” in a certain context) — thereby allowing you to scour the horizon for potential winter colds with roughly the same accuracy you might look for clouds as a way of predicting rain.

Hypochondriacs will never leave home again. It’s a good thing Apple offers door-to-door shipping.

About the author

Luke DormehlLuke Dormehl is a UK-based journalist and author, with a background working in documentary film for Channel 4 and the BBC. He is the author of The Formula: How Algorithms Solve All Our Problems, And Create More and The Apple Revolution, both published by Penguin/Random House. His tech writing has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, Techmeme, and other publications. He'd like you a lot if you followed him on Twitter.

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