Lumia 1020 used as part of a digital microscope for DNA sequencing

It’s nearly 4 years now since the Lumia 1020 has been released, but despite the passage of time the 40-megapixel windows phone has not yet been replicated by anyone.

The unique device has now found an interesting use as part of a DNA sequencing lab which simply uses slides, tagging chemicals and a 3D printed carriage for the device which contained, among other things, two small compact laser diodes for fluorescence imaging, and a white light-emitting diode for bright-field transmission imaging

Developed by a team from UCLA, Sweden, the microscope uses the Lumia 1020 camera to detect the fluorescent products of DNA sequencing reactions in cells and tissues, allowing doctors to perform targeted DNA sequencing and molecular analysis on things like tumours using a pocketable device. It could be useful to perform targeted DNA sequencing in colon cancer cell lines and human tumour samples and allows a doctor to gain a whole lot of information about a tumour without much more than a glass slide plate and a cellphone.

“Molecular diagnostics at the point of care is currently by and large an unmet need in resource-limited settings,” the researchers wrote. “Efficient management of a wide range of disease conditions is severely limited by the lack of molecular information.”

“With their rapidly expanding imaging and sensing capabilities, computational power, and connectivity, mobile phones help translate biomedical measurements from lab environments to … field settings,” the researchers wrote.

The work was published in Nature Communications, and could bring advanced medicine to places without well-equipped labs where molecular diagnostics are often not available.

While no-one has so far breached the high point the Lumia 1020 set, owners will be happy to know the handset is having a second life saving the lives of others.

The full paper can be read here.

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