A researcher at the University of California – Los Angeles (UCLA) has successfully built a prototype of a cell phone that can function as a mobile medical lab.


Cell phone lab scanner prototype, showing image of a test sample.

Actually, it can image the microscopic particles and cells in body fluids and send the pictures to real labs where they can be examined. The results of the analysis can then be sent back to the field, via the same cell phone.

Professor Aydogan Ozcan says he added about (US)$50 worth of off-the-shelf electronic parts to a standard Sony Ericsson phone to create the mobile lab.

One feature that distinguishes his device from others that perform the same task is that the cell phone-based lab does not require bulky magnifying optics. His device images fluid samples directly on a digital imaging receptor panel. In addition, that means that only a small sample of any fluid is required for testing.

The cell phone-based medical ‘scanner’ will be extremely useful to doctors in  remote or developing areas and could be available within a year or two.

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