Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Gadgets in the field: Cell-phone microscope

The cell-phone microscope appeared recently in the New York Times. It costs a few dollars, hooks onto a cell phone, and allows to examine blood samples microscopically. A version called the Cellophone and created by Aydogan Ozcan's group at UCLA creates digital holograms of the cells and allows for mathematical analysis of the image. (Ozcan has created a fledgling company called Microskia to develop the idea.) A related invention out of Berkeley is Daniel Fletcher's CellScope.

Wow. Here's a reason to be thankful that cell phones blanket the earth. If cell-phone microscopes can replace the full-sized version even for limited applications like malaria screening, they could be immensely helpful.

When will these devices be ready for marketing and distribution where they're needed most? Who's going to buy them up and send them into action?

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