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From VOA Learning English, this is the Technology Report.
Three students in Uganda have created a smartphone application that can measure the heartbeat of a human fetus. The three invented the smartphone app in 2012. At the time, they were attending Makerere University in Kampala. They are calling the new device WinSenga. “Senga” is the local word used to describe a family member who helps a woman during her pregnancy. The “Win” in the name comes from Microsoft’s Windows Operating System. Last year, the company gave Joshua Oekklo and his partners $50,000 to continue developing WinSenga. The app uses a small microphone placed inside a plastic horn, or listening device. Joshua Okello says local midwives have used similar tools for centuries. A midwife helps a woman during her pregnancy and childbirth. The smartphone app records and examines the sound of the fetal heartbeat. Mr. Okello says if the app suspects a problem, it informs the midwife of different steps she might take. For example, he says, the recorder could find a heartbeat of less than 120 beats per minute in the unborn child. The app will then warn the midwife and suggest possible actions. Mr. Okello says having a mobile device with this app could make it easier for health care workers to reach women in villages far from cities. He says it will also cost less than the machines currently in use. Juliet Birungi is a doctor who has used the WinSenga. She says the app could be especially helpful in hospitals with a small number of workers. She says an unusual fetal heart beat can be a warning sign, and could mean the difference between life and death.