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Thursday, July 8, 2010

Cellphone Microscope: Research & Development, with Impact

A contemporary example of how an elegant research idea can make a large impact.

I came across the story of a $10 cellphone microscope, invented by a team lead by Aydogan Ozcan, an assistant professor of electrical engineering and member of the California NanoSystems Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles. A cellphone microscope can come pretty handy in areas without diagnostic laboratories - e.g. underdeveloped nations. A quick way to do a red blood count, a bacterial analysis, a sperm count, you get the idea. Unsurprisingly, the invention has caught the attention of the Melinda and Bill gates Foundation and National Science Foundation among others (earning the research group multiple research grants).

And no, the researchers behind the work are not going to remain middle-class academics; apparently they have filed patents around their invention and intend to commercialize the invention. Way to go!

Here is a short video (courtesy UCLA) show casing the invention.

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