To fight the emerging diseases, it is important to identify mutations in DNA sequences. But the same is usually performed using expensive microscopes at highly specialized laboratories. This situation seems to be changed soon as a breakthrough 3D-printed apparatus has been designed by a team of scientists.
The researchers have used the Nokia Lumia 1020 smartphone featuring a 41MP main snapper at its rear to develop an array that transforms the smartphone into a low-cost, portable microscope that can perform genetic sequencing. Such a microscope would be really beneficial for the scientists working on-site in the remote areas and underdeveloped countries. Such scientists would have to send the DNA samples that are extracted from the tissue to centralized labs for the purpose of analysis.
This can save the precious time involved in treating diseases as the equipment is easy to use. The microscope can locate the mutations in the cells without the extraction of DNA. Eventually, it means that relatively less-skilled health care workers can provide a life-saving service.
The microscope made using Nokia Lumia 1020 records bright and multi-color fluorescence field images at a relatively lower cost. Moreover, the device could be made in less than $500 in bulk, but the traditional microscopes used for DNA sequencing are priced between $10,000 and $50,000.
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Talking about the functionality of this microscope, when a technician places a sample under the Nokia 1020 modified into a microscope, the phone will feed the data from the photos into the algorithm that will check the DNA sequences to detect irregularities. The setup will use the default camera app of the Nokia 1020 that is the Nokia Pro Cam and the ability of the phone to capture RAW files. The team of scientists states that the microscope can be adapted to work this way with the other smartphones too.