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The LUCAS Imager: Portable, Affordable Blood Tests for the Other 90 Percent
Julia Levitt, 26 Dec 08

lucasimager.jpg

In the Global South, blood tests -- which require a lab, expensive evaluative equipment and/or the presence of a skilled technician -- are out of reach for the majority of the population. As advancements in disease awareness and disease treatment continue to take hold in the developing world, effectively combating the most deadly diseases will require a means of testing that is inexpensive enough -- and portable enough -- to give access to the millions of people in under-served communities.

A new innovation that I read about recently in Wired promises to go a long way toward changing the game. A team of scientists at UCLA's California NanoSystems Institute have found a way to turn a cell phone into a portable blood tester, using simple and available materials. The instrument, called the LUCAS imager (Lensfree Ultrawide-field Cell-monitoring Array platform based on Shadow imaging), can be used to detect diseases, and to monitor major killers: HIV, malaria and leukemia. Dave Bullock writes:

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.

According to Wired, Ozcan is currently seeking a manufacturer for the devices. Read more about how the instrument works, and see more photos here.

Read more about worldchanging health developments in our archives:

Lab-on-a-Chip to Detect Invasive Species

The Transformative 120: Text Messages Prove a South African HIV Lifeline
Facebook, Coca-Cola and Medical Aid in Africa
Mapping a Pandemic

Photo credit: Dave Bullock/Wired.com

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Comments

Lensfree Ultrawide-field Cell-monitoring Array platform based on Shadow imaging huh?
It's obviously called LUCAS after George Lucas who invented it forin Star Wars Episode 1, in which Qui Gon Jinn sends a blood sample of Anakin to Obi-Wan on board the Queens ship over his communicator.


Posted by: STeve on 4 Jan 09

Lensfree Ultrawide-field Cell-monitoring Array platform based on Shadow imaging huh?
It's obviously called LUCAS after George Lucas who invented it forin Star Wars Episode 1, in which Qui Gon Jinn sends a blood sample of Anakin to Obi-Wan on board the Queens ship over his communicator.


Posted by: STeve on 4 Jan 09

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