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Mobiles diagnose disease via microscope

The mobile phone-based microscope
The mobile phone-based microscope

Researchers, clearly annoyed with having to carry a phone and a microscope to work every day on their bicycles, have developed a mobile add on to help diagnose disease.

The Cellscope, from the University of California Berkeley, snaps on the back of a standard Nokia mobile with 3.2MP camera, and uses normal magnifying optics combined with elements of a fluorescence microscope, giving resolution of over one millionth of a metre.

The latter part is especially important, as using fluorescence helps pick out certain molecules under different lights, and lets the viewer know of the presence of certain diseases.

For some diseases, this can be the only method of easily seeing whether they are apparent in the sample, so combining it with a mobile phone is a step towards easy convergence.

Healthcare on the cheap

The advantage of the current invention is it circumvents some of the cost of a standard fluorescence microscope, with the hope it can be used in developing nations where healthcare is at a lower standard.

"There are other people who have been working on developing portable fluorescent microscopes," said David Breslauer, a University of California Berkeley researcher told the BBC.

"The innovation on our front is that we've integrated that with a cell phone rather than just making a standalone microscope."

The group behind the device is now getting a more stable version of the device ready in preparation for field tests.

Via BBC News