Page 2: iPhone microscope automates detection of parasites in blood

May 8, 2015

Editor's note: This article is continued from page one.

The CellScope Loa is controlled through a smartphone app developed by the researchers specifically for this purpose. Within the app, healthcare worker is able to tap the screen and the phone communicates via Bluetooth to controllers in the base to process and analyze the sample of blood.

Gears move the blood sample in front of the iPhone camera and an algorithm automatically analyzes the “wriggling” motion of the worms in video captured by the phone. From there, the worm count is displayed on the screen.

Daniel Fletcher, associate chair and professor for bioengineering at UC Berkeley, said previous field tests revealed that automation helped reduce the rate of human error. In total, the procedure takes two minutes or less, and the short processing time allows health workers to quickly determine on site whether it is safe to administer IVM.

"We previously showed that mobile phones can be used for microscopy, but this is the first device that combines the imaging technology with hardware and software automation to create a complete diagnostic solution," said Fletcher. "The video CellScope provides accurate, fast results that enable health workers to make potentially life-saving treatment decisions in the field."

Vincent Resh, a professor in UC Berkeley’s Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management, who is not involved in the device, but has worked in West Africa for 15 years on the control of onchocerciasis, also commented on the device.

"The availability of a point-of-care test prior to drug treatment is a major advance in the control of these debilitating diseases," Resh. "The research offering a phone-based app is ingenious, practical and highly needed."

The team is expanding the study of CellScope Loa to about 40,000 people in Cameroon.

View more information on the CellScope.

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About the Author

James Carroll

Since joining the team 2013, James covered machine vision and imaging from numerous angles, including application stories, industry news, market updates, and new products. In addition to writing and editing articles for each issue of the magazine, James managed the Innovators Awards program and webcasts.

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