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The Power of Two

Alex Must Be Smiling

Published January 20, 2014 12:50 PM by Eleanor Wolfram
I am sure that somewhere, Alexander Graham Bell is smiling at the evolution of his telephone invention. Although he was an eminent scientist, inventor, engineer and innovator I am more than sure he could not have envisioned that his "speaking" machine would one day transmit video imagines.

Today's scientists are taking advantage of the billions of cell phones in use around the globe to help improve the quality of life for all of earth's inhabitants. The multiple uses for phones in the health care are becoming as common in underdeveloped locations as they are now in developed regions.

For example, I just recently read that the Berkeley lab of the University of California used the camera of a cell phone to snap a diagnostic -quality microscopic photo. What's even more amazing is that the photo was snapped in an underdeveloped country and transmitted to a developed country for health care improvement analysis and interventions.

This brainchild at the university comes from a bioengineer, Daniel Fletcher who put it best when he states that the need for traditional cooper wiring and infrastructures are being replaced by cellular phone technology. To put forth his belief, Fletcher designed high powered camera cell phone called "Cell-Scope".

The Cell-Scope is a modified a smart phone which can image cells with both bright-field and fluorescence techniques. The magnification and resolution is so high that it can diagnose malaria from blood samples and tuberculosis from sputum samples. Couple with image-analysis software the phone then automatically counts the number of Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacilli. The benefit to using the cell phone is that diagnosis of the disease did not require massive and expensive bench microscopes. And the advantage is that the work can be done in the field.

The cellular phone with camera and scope enhancements is changing the way health care and research works in the developed world. With ongoing innovations occurring in nano-analysis tools, the diagnosis, treatment and prevention achievements will be endless in the not too distant future.

posted by Eleanor Wolfram


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