Medical researchers have created a low budget attachment for smartphones that will allow them to use the mobile devices as microscopes. Built as a joint effort between the University of California, Stockholm University and Uppsala University, it is hoped that the casing will help doctors treat cancer, tuberculosis, and other diseases in the developing world.
Using the microscope requires a tissue sample from the patient, which is then placed under a special lens. The smartphone camera takes a picture of the sample that is lit up by two laser diodes and a white LED. The images are then fed into an algorithm to determine what it is that the doctors are dealing with.
Researchers used the Lumia 1020 for its massive 41-megapixel camera; although they are saying that it the attachment can be adapted for other modern smartphones. It’s not entirely clear if the smaller image sensors will be able to produce the same accuracy.
The group believes that an immediate application of the attachment is treating tuberculosis in India. Although some of the members are also imagining deploying the technology in developed countries to help keep the cost of lab analysis down.