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Of Cells and Cell Phones

A CellScope prototype

A CellScope prototype

Sometimes all this technology really does seem to make sense. The BBC has reported on a new add-on that is attached to a cell phone–a microscope–that can aid in the diagnosis of diseases such as tuberculosis and sickle-cell anemia in regions without ready access to clinics or doctors.

The flourescent or white-light microscope can be connected to a conventional cell phone, pictures made of blood samples with a resolution of just over one-millionth of a meter, and then the results phoned in to a doctor far away.

The newest phone apps may well be software for such medical image diagnosis, rather than for finding a restaurant. In essence, the CellScope becomes part of a portable clinic. David Breslauer at the University of California, Berkeley, is the lead researcher on the project.

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