Bioengineers at the University of Illinois have turned a smartphone into a portable diagnostic laboratory capable of performing a range of spectrum analyses that is currently done using large and expensive stationary machines. The investigators built an attachment that utilizes the smartphone’s camera to analyze the colorimetric absorption spectrum, fluorescence emission spectrum, and resonant reflection spectrum of a sample inside a custom microfluidic cartridge.
The prototype cost only $550 to build, which is considerably less than commercial machines currently in use in hospitals around the world. Moreover, the price is expected to be much lower if it ends up being manufactured in large quantities.
Since the three spectrum analysis techniques are already in use and assays for them are readily available, the researchers believe that introducing this technology into clinical practice will be very easy.