At the University of California Berkeley, a few handy researchers modified an off-the-shelf camera cellphone to produce a mobile microscope capable of 50x magnification. Coupled with the phone’s natural ability to send out images, the device may help to virtually bring dermatologists, pathologists and oncologists to remote areas of the world.
Using Bluetooth, wi-fi and cellular networks, a phone needs no modification itself. Capable of 50x magnification today, the devices could provide twice that. A smaller prototype features its own light source.
“This could be useful even at home,” suggests Fletcher [Associate Professor of Bioengineering at Berkeley –ed.], “where, for example, early warnings of a change in the shape of a mole could be sent to your clinician on a regular basis to monitor.”
In addition, cancer patients could conduct their own blood cell counts that today require larger microscopes and particle counters.
Dr. Lam, Pediatric Oncologist at UCSF, is one of the grad students working on CellScope. He adds, “By no means do we think this is going to replace those large particle counters. It’s just a good adjunct for the patient to have at home.”