• 04.08.09

Cellscope Diagnoses Diseases from Your Cell Phone

What if you could diagnose an ear infection with your cell phone? That might be possible thanks to an innovation from University of California, Berkeley professor Daniel Fletcher.


Fletcher’s cellscope turns camera-enabled cell phones and netbooks into handheld 5-50X microscopes capable of diagnosing and monitoring myriad diseases, including malaria and tuberculosis. And like any picture taken on a cell phone or computer, the image can be transmitted wirelessly–in this case, to clinical centers for evaluation.


The cellscope could be a big deal for developing countries that have more physicians than high-quality microscopes available. Whether the cellscope can be produced cheaply enough for said countries remains to be seen, but hopefully Fletcher’s $100,000 award from Intel will advance the design. 

The other winners in Intel’s INSPIRE EMPOWER Challenge include the Rural Livelihood Advancement Project, the Great Lakes Cassava Initiative, and the Mobile Solar Computer Classroom.

Related: The Fast Company 50 – #6 Intel


About the author

Ariel Schwartz is a Senior Editor at Co.Exist. She has contributed to SF Weekly, Popular Science, Inhabitat, Greenbiz, NBC Bay Area, GOOD Magazine and more.