A new MacGyver-esque cellphone hack could bring cheap, on-the-spot disease detection to even the most remote villages on the planet. Using only an LED, plastic light filter and some wires, scientists at UCLA's California NanoSystems Institute have modded a cellphone into a portable blood tester capable of detecting HIV, malaria and other illnesses.via Wired
Blood tests today require either refrigerator-sized machines that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars or a trained technician who manually identifies and counts cells under a microscope. These systems are slow, expensive and require dedicated labs to function. And soon they could be a thing of the past.
UCLA researcher Dr. Aydogan Ozcan images thousands of blood cells instantly by placing them on an off-the-shelf camera sensor and lighting them with a filtered-light source (coherent light, for you science buffs). 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. No more sending blood away to a lab and waiting days or weeks for the results.