Innovation That Matters

Microscope turns smartphones into parasite diagnostics kits

Sport & Fitness

CellScope is a 3D printed microscope that detects parasites in blood samples using the cameras of smartphones.

Citizen scientist projects are enabling researchers to work with crowdsourced Big Data, such as this kit that lets even children look for new antibiotics. Now, UC Berkley scientists have developed a method of parasitic infection diagnostics using the smartphone’s camera.


CellScope is a 3D printed device that turns smartphone cameras into powerful microscopes. A blood sample is loaded into the easily assembled device, which detects the ‘wiggle’ motion of parasitic worms present in the blood, and produces a diagnosis in less than two minutes. A companion app automates the process, reducing the risk of misdiagnosis and enables anyone to use it. Large-scale testing in Cameroon has been highly successful in detecting parasites that cause river blindness and elephantiasis, allowing rapid treatment in the field.

The CellScope team envision their device being used for agricultural analytics and provide a source of inspiration for art projects. How else could a smartphone camera be modified for other uses?



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