Domingo, 23 de Março de 2008

Cellphone camera as a microscope



The already famous telescope for mobile phones, which is used as an optical zoom module, was the probable inspiration for this microscope attachment.

Created by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, the device provides 60x optical zoom, but one thing that might affect it is the flash of most mobile phones, sometimes it will not switch off as the phone uses it for autofocus. In video mode the microscope should work properly.

The module was created as a class project, but now it can be used for medical purposes in rural and isolated towns, especially in countries in Africa which lack of infrastructure and equipment.

The captured image would be transmitted via Bluetooth to a laptop, and a good use of it would be identifying malaria parasites and cancer cells.

"The challenge was to make a low-cost, durable device with a long battery life," says David Breslauer, a graduate student in Fletcher's lab. "As engineers, we initially wanted to make a whiz-bang gadget to take pictures of both skin and blood. But people in the field told us, 'Once it gets too complicated, no one is going to want to use it. Make something simple that just does the task.'"

"Microscopy is still considered the gold standard" for malaria diagnosis, says Katherine Herz, a medical doctor and a fellow in health policy at Stanford University. "If microscopy could be done with portable equipment ... [it] might be adopted far more widely and prove extremely useful."

There are two versions of the module, one for skin care, which provides 5x optical zoom, and the other for blood analysis, which offers 60x zoom and is available at $75.

Source: Technology Review, MAKE, Engadget
published by Meraj Chhaya às 15:23
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