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[liberationtech] Mobile Phone Microscope for Developing Countries

Yosem Companys ycompanys at
Sun Jul 26 08:56:48 PDT 2009

A group of research engineers at Berkeley have developed a mobile phone
can photograph microbes in your blood, and analyze them for disease. The
group hopes the device will be useful to doctors in developing countries to
diagnose blood diseases in the field. The device uses a phone attachment
with an LED, and magnified images are fed into the cell phone camera.
Software installed on the phone analyzes bacterial counts, or the images can
be sent to labs for quick analysis. UC Berkeley bioengineer Dan Fletcher led
the CellScope research team. He said, "The same regions of the world that
lack access to adequate health facilities are, paradoxically, well-served by
mobile phone networks. We can take advantage of these mobile networks to
bring low-cost, easy-to-use lab equipment out to more remote settings . . .
We had to disabuse ourselves of the notion that we needed to spend many
thousands on a mercury arc lamp and high-sensitivity camera to get a
meaningful image. We found that a high-powered LED — which retails for just
a few dollars — coupled with a typical camera phone could produce a clinical
quality image sufficient for our goal of detecting in a field setting some
of the most common diseases in the developing world."
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