Archive for May 16th, 2010

Following up on cell phones and bacteria

Sunday, May 16th, 2010 by Roberto Saracco

It is good when lab invention progresses to the stage of becoming a product being used by the marketplace.

I was therefore pleased when I saw that the news published last August on a cell phone equipment making it possible to detect bacteria,

http://www.blog.telecomfuturecentre.it/2009/08/03/using-your-cell-phone-to-look-at-bacteria/ 

has moved to th field, of course in a reshaped way. The same group that developed the concept of a microscope attached to a cell phone has now produced a practical device that attaches to the cell phone via a USB cable.

Tiny scope attacheable to a cell phone for remote diagnoses
Tiny scope attacheable to a cell phone for remote diagnoses

The device captures the image of the sample, it may be a blood or a saliva smear, and analyze it through a software. The results are sent via the USB cable to the cell phone that will relate it to a medical center for a diagnoses.

The nice thing is that this device is very cheap, about three US dollars and very easy to use.
The researchers are seeing its usage in remote parts of the world where medical centers are not at hand. Doctors from a remote location will be able to detect the presence of bacteria or the effect on blood cells of bacteria and prescribe the appropriate drugs.
The assumption is, of course, that it is practical to send back up drugs to remote places where they can be used when needed.
It is amazing to think, if you just stop to think about it, that a number of research teams are developing solutions assuming, taking for granted, that the connectivity, even in remote locations, is no longer an issue.