Although it’s not the first spectrometer to use a smartphone for detection, it’s ability to process several samples at once makes it ideal for medical practitioners who need a fast and easy way to perform a diagnose with standard medical facilities. According to lead researcher Lei Li:
The spectrometer would be especially useful in clinics and hospitals that have a large number of samples without on-site labs, or for doctors who practice abroad or in remote areas.
How it works
The whole setup consists of just a backlit ELISA assaying plate with 96 wells, a “microprism array,” and a 3D-printed cradle which holds the smartphone.
The sample taken from a patient is put on the assay plate. When the backlight is shone from the plate through the sample, it passes through the microprism, then through a custom-made “diffraction grating” to the phone camera. An app on the smartphone then gIves the result by analyzing the light from each individual well in the ELISA plate. The colors that turns up reveal the result of the ELISA test.
This is all based on the fact that IL-6, a protein produced by the body, is always present in large quantity in the body when the immune system is alerted. It should be noted that Interleukin-6 is present even when there’s no cancer present in the body. It is present normally in the body at low quantity, it has also been linked to depression and mood disorders.
Still, this can be used to comfirm cases where patients have already developed symptoms of cancer.