Need To Detect Parasites In Your Blood? There's An App For That!

Lillian Boyd
Oh those darn kids and their iPhones with their Facebook and their Angry Birds and pretty much inventing technology that will combat infectious diseases in developing countries.

A UC Berkeley research team of engineers developed a smartphone microscope that uses video to detect and quantify parasitic worm infections. This could mean obliterating filarial diseases in developing regions. 

This is one of several developments conducted by CellScope, a collaboration between UC Berkeley's Fletcher Lab and U.S. scientists. CellScope's initiative is to implement the smartphone or tablet camera as a high quality light microscope. The official website says:

"By combining mobile microscopy with automation and wireless communication, we are creating new ways to tackle applications from infectious disease diagnosis to classroom education."

The Berkeley engineers teamed up with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and collaborators from Cameroon and France to conduct a pilot study in Cameroon, where health officials have been battling parasitic worm diseases. 

Berkeley professor Daniel Fletcher believes this technology helps to address neglected tropical diseases. 

"It demonstrates what technology can do to help fill a void for populations that are suffering from terrible, but treatable, diseases."

CellScope has already developed smartphone technology for observing ocean microorganisms, detecting infections in agriculture, observe water quality and examine malaria. There is currently an app available for at-home use, making it easy to check for ear infections and communicating with your doctor. 


CellScope's technology was featured on The Colbert Report:

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