Do you Know about?

World's smallest telemedicine microscope developed

Article appeared on

World's smallest and lightest telemedicine microscope, of the size of a large egg, has been developed, which may help improve healthcare in developing countries.

"This is a very capable and yet cost-effective microscope, shrunk into a very small package and weighing only 46 grams," said the inventor of the Aydogan Ozcan from the University of California, Los Angeles.

"Our goal with this project was to develop a device that can be used to improve health outcomes in resource-limited settings. It can be used to image blood samples or other fluids, even in Third World countries," Ozcan said.

The technology has the potential to help monitor diseases like malaria, HIV and TB in areas where there are great distances between people in need of health care and the facilities, he said, adding it can even be used to test water quality in the field following a disaster like a hurricane or earthquake.

The microscope, unveiled in a paper published in the journal Lab on a Chip, builds on imaging technology known as LUCAS (Lensless Ultra-wide-field Cell Monitoring Array platform based on Shadow imaging).

Instead of using a lens to magnify objects, LUCAS generates holographic images of microparticles or cells by employing a light-emitting diode to illuminate the objects and a digital sensor array to capture their images.

"Making things user-friendly is what I love about being an engineer. It is very rewarding to create something that to the end-user is very simple, when in reality years of research and work went into the technology and product development," Ozcan said.

The lensless microscope, in addition to being far more compact and lightweight than conventional microscopes, also obviates the need for a trained technicians to analyse the images produced. The images are analysed by computer so that results are available instantaneously.

The only external attachments necessary is a USB connection to a smart-phone, PDA or computer, which supplies the microscope with power and allows images to be uploaded for conversion into results and then sent to a hospital.

Samples are loaded using a small chip that can be filled with saliva or a blood smear for health monitoring.

With blood smears, the lensless microscope is capable of accurately identifying cells and particles, including red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets.

Using a couple of inexpensive add-on parts, the lensless microscope can also be converted into a differential interference contrast (DIC) microscope, also known as a Nomarski microscope, Science Blog reported. PTI

No comments: