My 2 Cents:  Now this is one of those hacks that you just got to love.  This low-cost hack could revolutionize disease detection in the field.

LOS ANGELES — A new MacGyver-esque cellphone hack could bring cheap, on-the-spot disease detection to even the most remote villages on the planet. Using only an LED, plastic light filter and some wires, scientists at UCLA have modded a cellphone into a portable blood tester capable of detecting HIV, malaria and other illnesses.

Blood tests today require either refrigerator-sized machines that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars or a trained technician who manually identifies and counts cells under a microscope. These systems are slow, expensive and require dedicated labs to function. And soon they could be a thing of the past.

UCLA researcher Dr. Aydogan Ozcan images thousands of blood cells instantly by placing them on an off-the-shelf camera sensor and lighting them with a filtered-light source (coherent light, for you science buffs). The filtered light exposes distinctive qualities of the cells, which are then interpreted by Ozcan’s custom software. By analyzing the cell types present in a much larger sample, a more accurate diagnosis can be made in a matter of minutes. No more sending blood away to a lab and waiting days or weeks for the results.

Click through the gallery for’s exclusive first look at Ozcan’s hacked cellphone devices.



Left: This off-the-shelf Sony Ericsson cellphone has been modded into a LUCAS imager. LUCAS is a selective acronym for Lensfree Ultrawide-�eld Cell-monitoring Array platform based on Shadow imaging.

The bulge on the back is the filtered light source that illuminates the sample. This low-cost hack could revolutionize disease detection in the field.

Scientists Hack Cellphone to Analyze Blood, Detect Disease, Help Developing Nations

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