DIY Cell Phone Microscope

9 11 2009

DIY Scope

This past summer, various news sources reported on Cell Scope, the portable Cell Phone Microscope.  It was a well-developed and supported, sophisticated device that at least seemed like it could be very helpful in underserved areas for such applications as searching peripheral smears for malarial parasites. 

Well, if you just cannot wait for Cell Scope to come to market, or if you are on more of a shoe-string budget, researchers at UCLA have fabricated a cell phone microscope of their own, of the DIY variety.

The engineer behind this project, Aydogan Ozcan told the New York Times that the device was created out of $10 worth of off-the-shelf parts (based on the picture, it seems as if they have some pretty amazing shelves) and actually involves no lens!  Instead, the set-up uses the cell phone’s camera sensor to read light scatter created by shining an LED light through a blood sample (I believe, much like routine automated hemocytometry) and the rig then reports the acquired information wirelessly to a computer which is able to interpret the information and report out certain information about the sample from the white cell count to the presence of malarial parasites.

Not surprisingly, this kit set-up is also targeted at indigent and undeserved areas for basic blood interpretation including utilization in the diagnosis of malaria.  Again, no word on price or release date, or more importantly for the DIY-er: instructions; I’m still waiting…

[New York Times via Gizmodo]

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