A team of researchers at the University of Cincinnati developed a tiny portable lab capable of plugging into your smartphone and diagnosing infectious diseases like COVID-19 and Lyme disease.
The lab could also aid in identifying mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety. The findings appeared in the journal Microsystems & Nanoengineering.
The tool works by the patient placing a single-use plastic lab chip into the mouth followed by a saliva test that then transmits the results to a physician via a custom application.
The device could be used to measure hormones associated with stress or to test for infectious diseases, which generally takes several hours or even days in a common lab setting.
“The novel lab chip uses natural capillary action, to transmit samples through means of microchannel capillary flow assay,” researchers stated. “The MCFA platform developed with the smartphone analyzer can be easily customized for different biomarkers, so a hand-held POCT for various infectious diseases can be envisaged with full networking capability at low cost.”
The study also added: “The emergence of miniaturization and microfluidics has led to the development of cheap and novel lab-on-a-chip (LOC) platforms for rapid and sensitive immunodiagnostics.”
“Microfluidic assays have been reported to have several advantages over conventional immunodiagnostics methods.”
The diagnosis system was developed using a Samsung Galaxy SIII with a 2100 mAh battery. The system consumes up to 6% of the smartphone’s battery within 10 minutes of usage when plugging into the USB OTG-based device.