March 13, 2013
Africa: Mobile Phone Microscope Detects Worm Infections
Children suffering from intestinal worms can now be diagnosed using a mobile phone microscope that is significantly cheaper than conventional methods, which are prohibitively expensive for many communities. All Africa reports.
The microscope costs around US$15 and runs off the phone's battery, whereas a conventional light microscope costs US$200 and requires electricity in most countries.
To build the microscope, scientists transformed an iPhone 4S mobile phone into a microscope by temporarily mounting a 3-millimetre ball lens to the camera, using double-sided tape to hold it firmly. A US$8 ball lens was positioned in a small hole punctured in the middle of the double-sided tape.
They then placed the mobile phone microscope on top of the slide, which was illuminated from below by a small flashlight. Images were viewed on the mobile phone screen, and magnification of up to 60 times was enabled using the digital zoom function.
Scientists from Canada, Switzerland, Tanzania and United States, used the microscope to evaluate stool samples from almost 200 children in Pemba, Tanzania, alongside conventional light microscope to measure the efficacy of different intestinal worm treatments.
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