Introducing the iBlood Lab

Little lens: A millimeter-wide ball lens is held in front of a cell phone camera’s lens with a piece of rubber

A cheap lens is all that is needed to enable an iPhone4 to discern the shapes of cells in a blood sample that can make it easier to diagnose conditions such as sickle-cell anemia in places without medical infrastructure.

The system allows field workers to photograph blood samples from patients, and then send the micrographs to doctors via the cellular network for interpretation.  Although it is not the first time a microscope has been attached to a cell phone what makes this different is the inexpensive materials that were used.  The additional lens can be made for $2 and attached to a cell phone with a one or two mexapixel camera–cheap enough to be broadly adopted in poor countries.

Only in poor countries? Pity, it sounds like the type of innovation that our costly medical systems can make use of as well.

The full story and some amazing photographs can be found below.

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