Simple attachment turns camera phone into portable microscope

| August 13, 2009

Newsweek (8/12, Yarett) recently reported on the simple attachment that turns camera phone into aportable microscope by saying "What the world needs now…is a new technology for diagnosing infectious disease that's inexpensive and portable yet highly effective." Luckily, "a group of engineers at UC-Berkeley may have come up with the very thing, a device they call the CellScope, a simple attachment that clips onto the back of an ordinary camera phone and turns it into a portable and easy-to-use microscope capable of visualizing single-celled pathogens like malaria parasites or tuberculosis bacteria — no laboratory required." This is noteworthy, because "well-outfitted labs are often hard to come by in the developing world." In fact, before the proliferation of microscopes and "strip tests," in some African and Asian regions, "diagnoses used to be based solely on the observations of sparse medical personnel." One expert pointed out, however, that "in field conditions, basic microscopy yields false negatives about half the time, partly due to poorly trained technicians, and strip tests have a bad rap because their quality is variable." The "CellScope's engineers and the public-health groups that will help test it are" now "optimistic that the device could be a solution."

Category: Web/Tech

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