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Turning a Cell Phone Into a Microscope 50

stupendou writes with this excerpt from the New York Times: "Microscopes are invaluable tools to identify blood and other cells when screening for diseases like anemia, tuberculosis and malaria. But they are also bulky and expensive. Now an engineer, using software that he developed and about $10 worth of off-the-shelf hardware, has adapted cellphones to substitute for microscopes." But not based on optical magnification: the article explains that Aydogan Ozcan, a UCLA assistant professor of electrical engineering, has combined the wireless transmission abilities and imaging sensors now typical in wireless phones to make the phones capable of detecting cell abnormalities and more by capturing wave interference patterns from body fluids — like blood — and sending them on for analysis.

Update 20091108 15:03 GMT by timothy: Dave Bullock mentions this gallery he shot last year for Wired showing how a phone is hacked to add microscope abilities. "The new version looks a bit more polished, to say the least," he writes.

Pascal is a language for children wanting to be naughty. -- Dr. Kasi Ananthanarayanan