Smartphone Camera Turned Microscope Could Revolutionize Healthcare in Africa
Friday, May 8, 2015
A device that can turn your smartphone camera into a microscope may change the health landscape of Africa where shortage of diagnostic infrastructure has jeopardized public health.
“We previously showed that mobile phones can be used for microscopy, but this is the first device that combines the imaging technology with hardware and software automation to create a complete diagnostic solution,” said Daniel Fletcher whose UC Berkeley lab pioneered the CellScope.
The hardware of CellScope is housed in a 3D-printed base into which a slide with blood from a pricked finger can be inserted. The lens module helps the phone’s camera detect wriggling motion of parasitic worms. An app that researchers developed gives a worm count. The procedure takes less than three minutes and researchers hope that CellScope would make possible quicker detection of Loa loa worms that hinder treatment of river blindness and elephantiasis in African population. Presence of the worm in the blood is a contraindication for the antiparasitic drug ivermectin which can treat both these disease.
- Health Care