Demonstrating again the versatility of the device, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have developed a cradle and app that turns Apple’s iPhone into a powerful biosensor in the vein of Star Trek’s fabled tricorders.
Here is the video demonstrating doing a spectral analysis of two samples. Pretty amazing.
And getting to set up for actual medical examination of things like vitamin A deficiency.
Their technology uses photonic crystals o detect all sorts of molecules. This material, which they can deposit directly on a slide, affects specific wavelengths of light – whether they are reflected or transmitted. It provides a useful waveguide for examining what happens when different wavelengths of light hit a biological substance on the slide.
Essentially, the wavelengths reflected change after a molecule binds. They have used this to detect very small amounts of DNA. They have also used it in a screening approach for cancer cell therapies.
They can prime the device allowing them to look for a specific molecule, such as a protein or DNA. And they say that the $200 in parts is as accurate as a $50,000 spectrophotometer.
In a recent paper, the researchers describe how they used the system to detect the presence of an antibody in a concentration dependent way.
And they have more ideas on the way.