back to article $50 add-on can turn your mobe into a less misanthropic House MD

Researchers have come up with an optical gadget which, when attached to a smartphone, can check samples for 12 infectious diseases at once. The team, led by Lei Li, assistant professor in the School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering at Washington State University, devised the equipment to solve the problem of diagnosis …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not new and wrong target

    There are similar devices in the field developed for/by MSF.

    Instead of using a classic ELISA style "wet" sample like on the picture, they work with dipsticks - antibody kits immobilized onto solid surface to produce something similar to an off-the-shelf pregnancy test.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Please say this is genuine..

    ...and not another "we can check your blood and test for a million illnesses in 30 seconds, all for $5"

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: Please say this is genuine..

      The reagents definitely do no cost $5.

      This only replaces the reader for field use.

      You still need whatever antibodies are required for the particular test as well as all the other wonders you need for ELISA and friends.

      You also still need someone knowing how to use a Gilson Pipetman and how to work samples.

      The only relatively innovative bit is using the phone camera (devices like this using a USB module and/or the Pi camera are already in the field).

      1. Nimby

        RE: The only relatively innovative bit is using the phone camera

        Yeah, I was of the same opinion. In fact I am kind of wondering why it even uses a phone at all. They need their own lens, so at that point why not just buy the camera part of a smartphone and incorporate it into the design? The processing is even done on a computer, so it's not like they needed the phone for ... anything.

        And at the end of the day, you still need a small fortune in biological agents and chemicals to actually run the tests. That anyone could do. All it really is, is just a convenient base for a portable lab where a technician still has to do all of the work. (Or buy pre-prepared tests.) Kind of sad that this is newsworthy.

        Now had it actually had a microscope lens able to optically recognize blood contaminants, or an array of specialized nano-particle detectors where you add a drop of blood and they bin (and thus recognize), and so your only task is to clean the "sensor", add blood, and then clean the sensor again, now you're talking interesting. But this is not that. By a long shot.

  3. Dave 126 Silver badge

    As a teenager the smartphone would be a Dougie Howser MD, Shirley?

    1. My other car WAS an IAV Stryker Silver badge

      Re: Howser vs. House (from the headline)

      It's a better fit. Additionally, such menial testing tasks are WAY beneath Dr. House. As if he'd ever put himself in scenarios that need this kind of kit.

      (My favorite scene from "House": picking the cane with flames -- "Bitchin'.")

  4. Anonymous Noel Coward

    It's a smartphone, not a doctor...

    Not Tricorder-y enough.

  5. Blockchain commentard

    Let's hope another Martin Shkreli doesn't buy the patents and up the price to $50,000 "because he can".

    1. Anonymous Noel Coward

      I doubt it. He's in prison.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Oh? Whatever happened to shills and shell companies?

  6. Flakk

    It's Not Lupus

    It's never lupus.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's Not Lupus

      Unless it's season 4 episode 8.

  7. John Robson Silver badge


    But were they false positives or negatives?

    Makes quite a difference...

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