Feeds

Optical add-on turns cameraphone into mobile lab

Strap-on microscope to help analyse bodily fluids

The Power of One Brief: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

Medical boffins have redesigned the humble cameraphone, developing a strap-on microscope that’s able to snap images of miniscule microbes.

cameraphone_microscope

The cameraphone microscope can snap pictures of blood samples

Designed by a team at the University of California, the strap-on is designed to zoom in on blood and other bodily fluid samples that may contain nasty diseases.

In tests, the team connected to microscope onto a 3.2Mp Nokia N73 cameraphone and were able to capture colour images of malaria parasites, sickled red blood cells and tuberculosis bacilli.

The cameraphone microscope uses standard, inexpensive microscope eyepieces and objectives. Using different objectives allows the microscope’s magnification and resolution to be adjusted, the team noted.

Cameraphone microscope

The microscope snapped this picture of malaria-infected blood

Medical nasties measuring a minimum of 1.2 micrometers across can be seen by the microscope. To put that into perspective, red blood cells typically measure between six and eight micrometers across.

Although good surrounding light levels result in the best microscope snaps, the team also built a battery-powered LED lamp and selection of accompanying filters into the strap-on – allowing it to function as a fluorescent microscope.

However, image quality can be affected by imperfections and aberrations on a mobile phone’s lens, the team admitted.

At present, the phone simply records the image of what its camera sees through the lens, after which it’s up to the doctors to analyse the image for signs of infection.

cameraphone_microscope_02.jpg

Different objectives allow the microscope’s magnification and resolution to be adjusted

But the boffins claimed that “simple image processing software” may make it possible for the handset’s processing capability and microscope to be used as a way of labelling and counting bacteria.

Healthcare workers currently perform such counts by eye, the team said, which is both time consuming and error prone.

It’s doubtful you’ll ever see the cameraphone microscope gracing high street stores in the UK. But the technology could prove a lifesaving benefit in areas where access to a cameraphone and mobile network is far easier than to a doctor, microscope and laboratory. ®

Application security programs and practises

More from The Register

next story
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
Bose says today is F*** With Dre Day: Beats sued in patent battle
Music gear giant seeks some of that sweet, sweet Apple pie
Apple orders huge MOUNTAIN of 80 MILLION 'Air' iPhone 6s
Bigger, harder trouser bulges foretold for fanbois
BEST BATTERY EVER: All lithium, all the time, plus a dash of carbon nano-stuff
We have found the Holy Grail (of batteries) - boffins
Microsoft confirms secret Surface will never see the light of day
Microsoft's form 8-K records decision 'not to ship a new form factor'
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.