Top Story, Devices & Diagnostics

A new activity for the quantified self movement? Tracking sperm count from an iPad

When one out of every six couples has trouble conceiving, a new iPad device could make it easier to examine where the problem could be.

Forget surfing the Internet, checking emails or watching shows on Netflix — for men, the iPad could be used for so much more. Like getting a closer, live-action look at your sperm swimming around to examine fertility. (It’s only available for the iPad Mini, though, which is probably not meant to be insulting.)

Taiwanese startup Aidmics could tap into the $40 billion global human fertility market with an iPad compatible gadget called iSperm that people can simply use at home.

A tiny microscope enlarges the contents of a few drops of semen inside a pipette that are then lit by a backlight. The moving image is captured from the light source and then the sample is analyzed through algorithms in an iPad or phone that detect sperm count and and how fast they’re moving.

According to Reuters, Aidmics’ device was released commercially last August has and has been sold to almost 200 farmers worldwide who are using it to calculate breeding potential in livestock. Pending approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the device could eventually be available for men.

“In the U.S., one out of every six couples has trouble conceiving,” founder Agean Lin told Reuters.

This option could make it much easier for anyone trying to have a baby figure out if there is a problem and seek help much faster. It would also make for a pretty fascinating new source of entertainment.

Lin said he aims to price the iSperm device between $100 and $200, a fraction of the cost of the commercial version.