The project goal is to create a device that combines optical microscopy and cellular communication to offer cell-phone microscopy. Such a device will enable bright-field and fluorescent visualization of medical samples, followed by capture, analysis, and transmission of images critical for diagnosis. This technology could have a tremendous impact on global health, enabling lightly trained healthcare workers to extend the reach of high-quality care into the most remote areas. The project was Seed Funded by CITRIS.
Researchers, who began international field testing in the DR Congo during summer 2008, have built functional prototype devices and demonstrated high-quality microscopy. Prototypes have demonstrated diagnostic-quality imaging of tuberculosis, malaria, and sickle cell disease. The research to date has resulted in one journal publication. Next steps are clinical validation in the lab and setting up rigorous field tests with partners in the developing world. Researchers have established partnerships with the Grameen Kalyan health network in Bangladesh and are currently talking with PATH and others. The project also won the Vodafone Innovation competition in 2009. Continuing work is being funded by Intel, Vodafone, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Blum Center.