Imagine for a moment that you are a doctor working in a remote village in South America. You want to quickly and effectively assess a number of patients who are presenting with similar symptoms. Thanks to Aydogan Ozcan and his colleagues at UCLA you can. They have developed rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) to make this screening process incredibly more efficient.
Blood or other fluid samples are taken and placed on a test strip. Changes in color take place on the strip and diseases like HIV, malaria, or TB can be detected. With the old method, mistakes were made because of human error. With the new technology the test strip is inserted into an attachment that is then inserted into an iPhone or Android based smart phone. The camera phone then takes an image of the strip. This attachment only weighs 65 grams and uses two AAA batteries.
"Software then rapidly reads the digitized RDT image to determine, first, whether the test is valid and, second, whether the results are positive or negative, thus eliminating errors that can occur with a human reader." After this the results are saved and then sent to a global server so the spread of various diseases can be tracked all over the world.
Epidemics can now more quickly be identified and tracked and hopefully treated or prevented.