17 June 2013
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Smartphone App: Affordable Disease-Detecting Device


Be smarter with smartphones!! The new smartphone app is really a surprise for technology world. Want to know what?? Well, here is Techvedic to let you know the detail of this smartphone app.

In this app, the mobile’s built-in camera and processing power can be used as a biosensor to detect toxins, proteins, bacteria, viruses and other molecules. Are you shocked that how it is possible?? Then no need to be. After making efforts, researchers have developed this smartphone app. This app bears biosensing capabilities through which tracking of groundwater contamination can be done. Later, the tracked information can be coupled with the GPS data of phone to locate the origin or spread of pathogens.

This system is highly useful to get the complete diagnostic tests of clinics or hospitals as well as check the contaminant in food processing and distribution chain. The best part of this system is it can perform testing immediately, that’s too without much investment. This cradle is wedge-shaped and a series of optical components – lenses and filters – are befitted with it. According to the position of optical components, this cradle holds the phone’s camera.

Exactly at the core of the biosensor, a photonic crystal is located. Basically, this photonic crystal is just like a mirror which can reflect the light of only one wavelength. However, it allows the passing of rest of the spectrum. If any biological components like proteins, cells, pathogens or DNA get attached to the photonic crystal then the reflected color wavelength will shift from shorter to longer. Talking about the handheld biosensor, a normal microscope is primed to react to a specific target molecule. There is a slot on the cradle in which a photonic crystal slide is inserted. The reflected wavelength shows as a black gap in the spectrum and after exposure to the test sample this spectrum is re-measured. By measuring the shift of the reflected wavelength, an app comes to know the amount of targeted molecule in the sample. Within few minutes, the entire test gets completed. Although the cradle contains only about USD 200 of optical components yet, it performs the test as appropriate as large USD 50,000 spectrophotometer in the laboratory. Along with it, this device is also portable.

Under the study published in the journal Lab on a chip, the team performed the detection of immune system protein. But, any other biological molecule can also be recognised by this.

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My name is Anurag Sharma.
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