It is likely that your phone is host to a bunch of fitness sensors but this new and innovative lab, courtesy Washington State University, takes the crown. Under the leadership of Lei Li, a research team at the university has come up with a portable lab which is capable of detecting cancerous cells almost instantly.
To function, it uses the smartphone’s spectrometer, which measures the light spectrum to determine the type and amount of cancerous cells in a sample. It is capable of identifying cells like interleukin-6 (IL-6), which is a biomarker associated with lung, prostate, liver, breast and epithelial cancer.
The laboratory is capable of measuring 8 samples at once, a feat in itself, that too with a 99-percent accuracy. There are competing products already available in the market, but all of them can determine only a single sample at once.
“The spectrometer would be especially useful in clinics and hospitals that have a large number of samples without on-site labs, or for doctors who practice abroad or in remote areas. They can’t carry a whole lab with them. They need a portable and efficient device.”
The phone used to make this happen is the evergreen iPhone 5. Though, Dr. Li’s team thinks pretty much any phone will work with the final version of the lab.
They believe the product could be useful in clinics and hospitals with no on-site labs, as well as places with no labs in the first place or where it is difficult to carry equipment around.