Saturday, October 8, 2011

iPhone turns into 350x Medical Microscope

Using smartphones like iPhone for other purposes like in medicine isn’t a new thing but it is very ideal to see some of its application to become more useful for people. Lately there are apps like Skin Scan where you can self-monitored tasks like melanoma detection.

We also witness lots of add-ons to the iPhone camera to become more dslr-like and can acquire wide-angle lenses and a zoom of 12x simple microscope lens. Anyway to set the point straight a group of researchers at UC Davis has joined the competition by making the iPhone into a 350x microscope that is cheap compare to scientific microscope which is far way expensive. With that said, you’ll be able to show people Instagrams of your blood cells just for $50.00 USD.

This add-on is not for iPhones only but it can also be used for other smartphones that are in comparable with the iPhone.  Though they are testing it for iPhones only for now it could be available for other smartphones later.

The project is essentially somewhat an artless slight drudge. They use a 1mm ball lens and attach it to the outside of the iPhone lens array with a rubber sheet and some tape. The tiny lens precisely only offers 5x intensification, but the way it emphases creates a tiny in-focus area that can firm specifics down to about 1.5 microns. The field of view is very small and there’s distortion to deal with, but by combining the in-focus areas of several pictures you can get a clear enough image to identify cell types, make counts, or even take spectroscopic readings.

Take a look at these images: the ones on the top were taken with a full-on commercial medical microscope, the ones on the bottom are from the iPhone setup:

There’s clearly a chief dissimilarity in quality, but the variance in price is even bigger, and high-quality microscopes aren’t very mobile.

So basically this is a one step closer towards this tricorder with a chief purpose CPU, modular inputs and general imaging unit. The smartphones today are much more useful than calling, sending sms and playing mobile games just for entertainment. It might not be that good for a mobile clinic but in fields where money and electricity are hard to come by an iPhone or other smartphones are quite handy for diagnostic tool. Lengthening the “intelligences” of our gadgets thru economical apparatuses and elbow grease can totally allow reorganized medical care.

Read more about the project HERE
Funding for the study was provided by the National Science Foundation.

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