First there was the One Laptop Per Child laptop for under $100, now an engineer has created a $10 do it yourself microscope out of a cellphone!
The vision of engineering professor Aydogan Ozcan of UCLA, the microscope uses a cellphone and ten dollars ($10) of off the shelf parts. The idea is pretty groundbreaking and could help doctors who seek to diagnose illnesses in the “bush” areas of the third world where sophisticated lab equipment simply isn’t available.
The idea is pretty ingenious. Rather than take a slide and magnify it, the cellphone microsope can image the slide sample and send it wirelessly to the nearest hospital laboratory. But with special “app” software developed by Ozcan, the cellphones can also detect abnormal shaping of bloodcells which could show signs of infection.
And there’s even a special microscope box which can connect to a cellphone which can then transmit the data where it needs to go.
“There’s no need for regular microscope lenses anymore because the software can magnify the cells electronically,” said Ozcan, “by creating a hologram that can image several cells at the same time and analyze how they interact. We can learn a lot in seconds.”
And in a world where infectious disease can strike hundreds in a few hours, this invention can save lives to boot. My only question is, when will we see the iPhone app?