Inside the Technology That Can Turn Your Smartphone into a Personal Doctor
Thursday, May 1, 2014
The tricorder-like devices in the UCLA engineering labs of Aydogan Ozcan don’t purr. Nor do they cause the shoulder strain of the cassette recorder-size clunkers of Trekkie lore. But in other respects, they’re the closest thing yet to the real McCoy.
Ozcan’s sleek gizmos, which fit onto the back of a smartphone, count thousands of red and white blood cells in seconds; screen urine for signs of kidney disease; spot viruses like HIV and influenza in a smear of blood; and test water for bacteria, parasites and toxic chemicals. Another phone attachment, the iTube, scanned for microscopic specks of allergy-causing peanut in what one of Ozcan’s journal articles last year described as “3 different kinds of Mrs. Fields Cookies.”