Use your smartphone to fix car troubles and detect heart problems

Your smartphone is a very versatile tool. Here are some interesting, unusual and useful things you can make it do, from fixing your car to diagnosing a heart condition.
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor

Your smartphone is a very versatile tool that contains a huge amount of computational power. By using the right apps and augmenting the smartphone with other hardware you can make it do some very unusual things.

Turn your smartphone into a tool to diagnose car problems

Got a 'Check Engine' light on your dash, staring at you? In the trade that's called 'the money light.' Wonder what it means? Wonder how much it will cost you to fix? Wonder if you can fix it yourself, if only you knew what it meant?

Enter BlueDriver, a professional quality vehicle scan tool that's simple to use.

BlueDriver OBD II scan tool

Find out more here.

Turn your smartphone into a device that can detect serious heart conditions in you (or your pet)

A smartphone or tablet opens up a world of possibilities. You can take photos, control drones, make payments, and, if you're old-school, make calls and send messages. But here's something truly amazing that you can do with your iOS or Android device, and it'll only cost you as little as $75 - transform your device into a portable ECG heart monitor for you, your family and friends, or even your pet.

The device you need is the AliveCor heart monitor. This, when combined with the FDA-cleared app, can display ECG rhythms as well as being able to differentiate between a normal sinus rhythm and one showing atrial fibrillation (AF). All you do is place your fingers on the pads and the device does the rest.

AliveCor heart rhythm monitors for people and pets

Find out more here.

Bonus: Turn your smartphone into a satellite phone

Never be out of cell coverage again!

The modern smartphone is a wonder of modern technology, and in combination with the carrier network can allow you to make calls from the densest urban jungle to Mount Everest. But despite the amazing global coverage of the carrier networks, sometimes it just isn't enough.

This is when you need to rely on satellite coverage. And believe it or not, you can add satellite capability to your existing iPhone or Android smartphone. Yes, that's right, you no longer need a dedicated satellite phone. What you need is a Thuraya SatSleeve.

Find out more here.

See also:

Built-in iOS apps you should replace with third-party apps

      Editorial standards