Cell Phone Microscope for Just $10 Can Detect HIV, Malaria, and More

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Professor Aydogan Ozcan, currently of the UCLA Electrical Engineering Department, has invented an attachment that, with just $10.00 worth of parts, can turn your cell phone into a microscope. Dr. Ozcan, who did both his PhD and post-doc work in Electrical Engineering at Stanford, has, along with his team, won 3 awards for his design, but the real prize is that with the award monies he can (and is going to) take the cell phone microscope, dubbed the LUCAS microscope, out into the field, in Africa, to put it to practical use. (‘LUCAS’ microscope stands for “Lensless Ultrawide field Cell monitoring Array platform based on Shadow Imaging microscope” – yeah, it’s a stretch, but we didn’t name it!)

The really exciting aspect of the LUCAS cell phone microscope is that it can literally put a microscope in the pocket of any health care provider who is out in the field, allowing them to do some on-the-spot diagnostics, performing such tasks as analyzing blood and saliva for microparticles, and red and white bloodcell count, and testing water for the presence of water-borne parasites. The system can be used to help diagnose HIV, AIDS, and malaria, to name a few.


The health care professional simply takes a sample of blood, urine, water, etc., loads it onto the slide of the LUCAS microscope, and then, via the cell phone’s camera and cellular connection, sends the image back to a lab with a master database, which will return to the health care provider the requested information (such as white blood cell count, etc.).

Says Professor Ozcan, “We would like to have this microscope work as something that could diagnose infectious diseases like malaria, HIV and tuberculosis.”

The device can also be used with a laptop or PC, via a USB port. Ozcan envisions the cell phone microscope being deployed at disasters such as earthquakes and major power outages, and being used by veterinarians as well as doctors, nurses and other health care providers.

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The Internet Patrol is and always has been free. We don't hide our articles behind a paywall, or restrict the number of articles you can read in a month if you don't give us money. That said, it does cost us money to run the site, so if something you read here was helpful or useful, won't you consider donating something to help keep the Internet Patrol free?
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