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OCR for your blood
December 21, 2008 4:30 AM   Subscribe

A modified cellphone will revolutionize medicine in the Third World, improve your health, and maybe even make your one-night stands much less nerve-wracking.
posted by orthogonality (24 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
and maybe even make your one-night stands much less nerve-wracking.

So, it also dispenses alcohol?
posted by twoleftfeet at 4:37 AM on December 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm confused about how someone can diagnose/identify HIV using a microscope, let alone and LED and a webcam. Anyone?
posted by needs more cowbell at 4:45 AM on December 21, 2008


needs more cowbell writes "I'm confused about how someone can diagnose/identify HIV using a microscope, let alone and LED and a webcam. Anyone?"

I'm not sure they can. What they might do is look for T-cell levels, to monitor the progression of an existing HIV infection. Of course, that can also be used as a proxy for the existence of infection.
posted by orthogonality at 5:01 AM on December 21, 2008


That's what I was thinking, orthogonality. So the text of the article is a bit misleading, unless I'm reading something wrong - they say "detect HIV."
posted by needs more cowbell at 5:04 AM on December 21, 2008


I'm confused about how someone can diagnose/identify HIV using a microscope, let alone and LED and a webcam. Anyone?

The paper is online here.

It has been recently demonstrated that rapid on-chip monitoring of a homogenous cell solution within an ultra-large field-of-field of ~10 cm2 is feasible by recording the classical diffraction pattern of each cell in parallel onto an opto-electronic sensor array under incoherent white light illumination... we illustrate that the use of narrowband short wavelength illumination... significantly improves the digital signal-to-noise ratio of the cell diffraction signatures

I hope that clears this up.

Shine a bright light and do OCR to look for weird looking cells. Something like that.
posted by twoleftfeet at 5:12 AM on December 21, 2008


This needs an instructables link.
posted by -harlequin- at 5:15 AM on December 21, 2008


That's very cool. Medicine 2.0!
posted by Hildegarde at 5:15 AM on December 21, 2008


By the way, I'm betting that "lab on a chip" will become a familiar meme by 2010.

You heard it here first!
posted by twoleftfeet at 5:22 AM on December 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


Hopefully they can add throw in diabetes detection for the American edition.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:27 AM on December 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


Now that is amazing stuff. And of course it's a Sony Ericsson.

*kisses phone*
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:39 AM on December 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


The end of the abstract says 'HIV monitoring', rather than 'HIV detection'. orthogonality's supposition that it's probably monitoring white blood cell levels seems likely, given that language.
posted by Malor at 5:52 AM on December 21, 2008


the mobile phone rocks in the developing world. that is all.
posted by infini at 6:37 AM on December 21, 2008


sounds like what you lose in wracked nerves you gain in renewed awkwardness
posted by doobiedoo at 9:16 AM on December 21, 2008


This comes up on my tab heading as "Scientists Hack Cellphone to Anal". God I hope not.
posted by grounded at 10:07 AM on December 21, 2008


That would require me to have one night stands.
posted by Caduceus at 10:12 AM on December 21, 2008


This is some promising preliminary work. Just to clarify, CD4 testing for HIV is currently done with expensive and cumbersome flow cytometry machines. This system is not likely to compete with conventional methods since it doesn't differentiate between cells using antibody-specific labeling. Whether it will be possible to immunotype cells with this method isn't clear. Regardless, fluorescently labeled antibodies are still ridiculously expensive and another limitation of conventional tests.

Basically, the hype about HIV testing is a throw away line to increase the "sex appeal" of the project which seems great for counting cells but not so great for identifying them beyond broad categories (RBC vs WBC). There are plenty of lab on a chip and portable flow cytometers being worked on which are more directly related to HIV treatment unlike this system. Standard HIV testing for a diagnosis is an unrelated test.

For initial HIV diagnosis something like this method which uses an egg beater to seperate plasma from whole blood combined with a paper-based testing seems more likely to be useful for developing countries. It also incorporates cellphone based telemedecine which may prove to be the route the majority of the world's population use to access healthcare in the future.
posted by euphorb at 10:53 AM on December 21, 2008


ozcan's razor perhaps?
posted by brandz at 11:22 AM on December 21, 2008


I don't see this as necessarily a viable medical device, more like a proof of concept. The idea here isn't really so much hacked cell phones, but a 21st-century reality of Star Trek salt shaker medical probes.
posted by dhartung at 11:26 AM on December 21, 2008


ozcan's razor razr perhaps?
posted by porpoise at 1:57 PM on December 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


I bet they put it on an SE because they have excellent cameras!
posted by By The Grace of God at 2:28 PM on December 21, 2008


It will be interesting to see how this kind of thing is actually applied, and the legal issues around it. It wouldn't surprise me if it was banned for non-doctors. For one thing, if you're sticking a needle in people who you think might have AIDS you obviously have to be careful in order to avoid spreading it. For another thing, it would freak out the purity patrol, just like the HPV vaccine did.

The device doesn't sound like it could really find HIV, but it wouldn't suprise me if chip-based systems could eventually. If you can extract all the DNA and RNA in a cell, you should be able to detect HIV's gene pattern, I would think. And DNA reading machines are getting smaller and cheaper all the time.
posted by delmoi at 2:34 PM on December 21, 2008


I bet they put it on an SE because they have excellent cameras!

We have cameras!
posted by zpousman at 5:57 PM on December 21, 2008


Simple accessories could turn mobile phones into useful medical devices
posted by infini at 5:55 PM on December 22, 2008


Simple accessories could turn mobile phones into useful medical devices
posted by infini at 5:55 PM on December 22, 2008


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