Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles have constructed an inexpensive smartphone attachment that turns phones into precise, high-quality microscopes.
The attachment may be small but manages to pack an external lens, a thin-film filter and a laser diode all inside a small 3D-printed case, to make for a precise miniature fluorescent microscope. A software program on the smartphone scans the DNA before transmitting data to a remote server. The server then measures the length of the DNA strands and sends back results in less than 10 seconds. The device has been proven to be accurate with DNA strands consisting of 10,000 base pairs or more.
This device could have huge implications for the hospital industry, as it would make it possible to isolate DNA strands and analyze them for diagnostic purposes -- without having to rely on expensive and bulky equipment.