Inventor Turns Cell Phone into Microscope
Over the last decade our mobile phones have evolved greatly from just being a simple phone that allows you to make calls anywhere outside your home, to being a miniature computer. We now wonder exactly where mobile phones will evolve over the next decade, and this story posted in the NY Times may give us a hint.
According to the article, an inventor by the name of Dr. Aydogan Ozcan has formed a company that converted an ordinary cell phone into a portable microscope capable of diagnosing diseases.
The piece is a cell phone add-on that utilizes the phone’s camera sensor which detects the slide’s contents and transmits that information to a hospital or other health facility.
The whole point of the setup is to allow these devices to be used in extremely remote places that don’t have access to modern health facilities, and these devices would be able to assist in diagnosing those who need it most.
Crazy as it sounds, the whole contraption only cost $10 to make. This is a good sign because it means this will be an extremely affordable solution in those remote areas.
What if your phone doesn’t have a camera though? The company has come up with ways to build a microscope without any lenses at all; in this case, a simple box with a sensing chip would be plugged into a phone or laptop with a USB cable. No need for optics or lens of any kind.
While this may not be the most popular contraption because of its limited use in the science and health communities, it’s a large indicator that other huge breakthroughs will be made with mobile phones over the next decade. Plus, we’re that much closer to a real-life tricorder (from Star Trek).