Cell Phones to Analyze Blood for Diseases

UCLA researches have modified a cell phone to detect for malaria, HIV, and other illnesses.

UCLA researches have modified a cell phone in such a way that it can be used to detect for malaria, HIV, and other illnesses.

Not everyone on the planet has access to the healthcare facilities that we do in the US. In fact, many have no access to healthcare at all, save for the efforts of philanthropic organizations to bring healthcare to remote areas.

Healthcare workers that practice in the field may soon have a new tool to help diagnose disease. Researchers at UCLA, led by Dr. Aydogan Ozcan, have "hacked" a cell phone with a plastic light filter, LED and wires so that it can be used to discover diseases in blood specimens.

Normally, laboratory technicians analyze blood samples under a microscope. This takes time and manpower. According to Wired, Ozcan's methodology "images thousands of blood cells instantly by placing them on an off-the-shelf camera sensor and lighting them with a filtered-light source. The filtered light exposes distinctive qualities of the cells, which are then interpreted by Ozcan's custom software. By analyzing the cell types present in a much larger sample, a more accurate diagnosis can be made in a matter of minutes."

The device is called a LUCAS imager. LUCAS stands for Lensfree Ultrawide-field Cell-monitoring Array platform based on Shadow imaging.

This is a great breakthrough by Ozcan's team. Hopefully the solution they have created can be manufactured and distributed to physicians, nurses, and other health professionals in the near future.

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