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 Cell phones using lens-free imaging promise to improve health monitoring

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Date posted: 23/12/2008

In the lab of UCLA electrical engineering professor Aydogan Ozcan, a prototype cell phone has been constructed that is capable of monitoring the condition of HIV and malaria patients, as well as testing water quality in undeveloped areas or disaster sites. The innovative imaging technology was invented by Ozcan, a member of the California NanoSystems Institute at UCLA, and has been miniaturized by researchers in his lab to the point that it can fit in standard cell phones.

The imaging platform, known as LUCAS (Lensless Ultra-wide-field Cell monitoring Array platform based on Shadow imaging), has now been successfully installed in both a cell phone and a webcam. Both devices acquire an image in the same way, using a short wavelength blue light to illuminate a blood, saliva or other fluid sample. LUCAS captures an image of the microparticles in the solution using a sensor array.

Because red blood cells and other microparticles have a distinct diffraction pattern, or shadow image, they can be identified and counted virtually instantaneously by LUCAS using a custom-developed "decision algorithm" that compares the captured shadow images to a library of training images. Data collected by LUCAS can then be sent to a hospital for analysis and diagnosis using the cell phone, or transferred via USB to a computer for transmission to a hospital.

"This technology will not only have great impact in health care applications, it also has the potential to replace cytometers in research labs at a fraction of the cost," said Ozcan. "A conventional flow-cytometer identifies cells serially, one at a time, whereas tabletop versions of LUCAS can identify thousands of cells in a second, all in parallel, with the same accuracy."

See the full Story via external site: www.physorg.com



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