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Mobile Phone Medical Device

In the upcoming February issue of MD&DI, we feature a fanciful medical device that takes the elements of a smart phone and pairs it with medical device applications. Turns out, our dream device is not so far from reality. According to the report, Professor Aydogan Ozcan of UCLA has taken a typical Sony Ericsson phone, and added a few off-the-shelf parts that cost less than $50.

The result is a device that can produce an image showing the thousands of cells in a small fluid sample such as human blood. The device is called LUCAS (lensless ultra-wide-field cell monitoring array platform), and it is based on shadow imaging. It uses a short wavelength blue light to illuminate a sample of liquidâEUR"blood, saliva or another fluidâEUR"on a laboratory slide. The device captures the image to a chip in the cell phone. If the phone is loaded with an algorithm program, it can count the microparticles. Or the image can be wirelessly transmitted to a computer, which analyzes it and sends back the results via text message. The applications are limited, however. It cannot analyze morphology, and similar-looking bacteria cannot be differentiated. Nonetheless, Ozcan wants to take the device further to detect DNA fragments and proteins. Although the device is not quite as sophisticated as, say, the latest touch phone, its relative low cost and simple design make it particularly useful in remote areas, where quick diagnosis is often the difference between life and death.

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