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Modified mobile phone that detects diseases

Scientists at UCLA has hacked / modified an ordinary off-the-shelf cellular phone so that it can be used to detect certain diseases like HIV and malaria. This breakthrough is good news specially for less financially abled countries that couldn’t afford to shell out hundreds of thousands of dollars to buy the current medical equipment. Another advantage of the device is that it can be used to detect diseases in matter of hours as opposed to having to wait for days using current technology. It can even be used in far flung places because of the portability of the ordinary cell phone.

UCLA researcher Dr. Aydogan Ozcan’s device uses the camera sensor of a cell phone, filtered lighting and specially developed software to analyze the cell’s distinctive qualities to detect diseases.


An off-the-shelf Sony Ericsson mobile phone was hacked to perform disease detecting functions. Called a LUCAS (Lensfree Ultrawide-field Cell-monitoring Array platform based on Shadow imaging) image, it is used to capture an image of the blood sample. This image serves as an input to a specially develop software that detects diseases based on the outputted image.

This is a very revolutionary invention because what now takes days will take only hours and can be done right at the location where the blood sample has been taken.


The modified Sony Ericsson cell phone still works as a mobile phone. The back has been modified to put the light source and to allow the insertion of blood samples for testing.

The creators of the invention is currently looking for funding to commercially create the device.

Some other ideas come to mind like Sony Ericsson, Nokia or other mobile phone manufacturers creating “medical editions” of their mobile phones to allow attachments of such things.

Your read more info and see more pictures on at this Wired page.

Gerry Ilagan

Gerry Ilagan is into mobile apps and WordPress development at @speeqs. He loves to write about electronics, the Internet of Things, mobile phones, and #crazyideas.

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