Health care facilities in those areas are poor and the possibility to use a cell phone, that is basically ubiquitous, to detect those bugs and send the images to diagnostic centres far away for the correct diagnoses can be life saving.
The device makes use of a tube fitting microscope lenses that attaches to the cell phone. Using sample of blood and sputum the cellscope can spot the microbes and even count them. According to David Breslauer, co-lead author of the study “The system could be used to help provide early warning of outbreaks by shortening the time needed to screen, diagnose and treat infectious diseases”
This is another step in the direction of transforming a cell phone into a medical device. Of course, this specific invention makes sense in those areas lacking sophisticated health care infrastructures but my feeling is that, thanks to its pervasiveness, to its having become a personal companion for each of us, of being able to interface with remote site via the network and, finally, of hosting locally a variety of adds on (both hw and sw) the cell phone will transform health care into an ecosystem, acting as a seed and changing today’s business processes.