While urine dipstick tests are some of the easiest diagnostic tools physicians have, they can often be misleading if a poorly trained person does the test. Moreover, lighting and other factors can make colors seems not what they are and skew the results significantly.
At Stanford University researchers have been working on an easy-to-use device that can essentially automate the entire process and even read the results for you. It’s a black box with a mechanism that separates a urine sample into ten identical amounts and places those into ten holes at the bottom of the box. Each hole, just like on a traditional dipstick test, tests for a unique chemical biomarker. Once the sample is delivered, the user places the phone on top of the box and starts the matching app. The app takes a picture of the test and interprets the colors all on its own.
The standardized illumination from the smartphone’s LED light helps to make sure the test is well calibrated and results are accurate.
Here’s an animation showing the workings of the device: