Can smartphones help diagnose disease? Yes, according to Konrad Körding, one of the developers of an Android app being used to track the movement of Parkinson’s patients.

The app uses the phone’s sensory capabilities to evaluate a user’s patterns of movement, such as if walking is unstable or if a fall occurs.

“Most patients already carry a phone with them,” said Körding, a researcher who holds academic posts at both Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine and the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. “It’s known that you can detect disease based on movement.”

The unnamed app is still in beta, said Körding, noting commercialization is in the very early stages. The technology works by sending diagnostic data from the phone to a server, where it is analyzed.

“It’s very, very precise,” said Körding. “Making sense of the data at that moment means that we are able to find out exactly what people do. We know if they walk, if they stand, if they hold the phone.”