Telemedicine Microscope - world record set byCNSI
LOS ANGELES, CA, USA -- Aydogan Ozcan,
an assistant professor of electrical engineering at UCLA's
California NanoSystems Institute, has created a miniature
microscope, for imaging blood samples or other fluids, testing
water quality or other public health need in resource-limited
settings, weighing just 46 grams - and setting the new world
record for the Smallest,
Lightest Telemedicine Microscope. Photo: The World's
Smallest Telemedicine Microscopeis fairly
robust with few moving parts and a large aperture. Slightly
wider than a US quarter and weighing just 46 grams, the lensless
microscope is a self-contained imaging device.(enlarge
photo) The Smallest
Telemedicine Microscope in the World builds on imaging
technology known as LUCAS (Lensless Ultra-wide-field Cell
Monitoring Array platform based on Shadow imaging), which
was developed by Aydogan Ozcan, an assistant professor
of electrical engineering at the UCLA Henry Samueli School
of Engineering and Applied Science and a researcher at UCLA's
California NanoSystems Institute.
“This is a very capable and yet cost-effective
microscope, shrunk into a very small package and weighing
only 46 grams,” said inventor Aydogan Ozcan from the University
of California, Los Angeles.
“Our goal with this project was to develop a
device that can be used to improve health outcomes in resource-limited
settings. It can be used to image blood samples or other fluids,
even in Third World countries,” Ozcan said. Instead of using a lens to magnify objects,
LUCAS generates holographic images of microparticles or cells
by employing a light-emitting diode to illuminate the objects
and a digital sensor array to capture their images.
Weighing 46 grams -- approximately as much
as a large egg -- the World's
Smallest Telemedicine Microscope is a self-contained
imaging device. The only external attachments necessary are
a USB connection to a smart-phone, PDA or computer, which
supplies the microscope with power and allows images to be
uploaded for conversion into results and then sent to a hospital.
The technology can be used to image blood samples
or other fluids, even in Third World countries. "This is a
very capable and yet cost-effective microscope, shrunk into
a very small package," Ozcan said. "Our goal with this project
was to develop a device that can be used to improve health
outcomes in resource-limited settings."
Using a couple of inexpensive add-on
parts, the lensless microscope can also be converted into
a differential interference contrast (DIC) microscope, also
known as a Nomarski microscope. DIC microscopes are used to
gain information on the density of a sample, giving the appearance
of a 3-D image by putting lines and edges in stark contrast.
The additional parts for conversion to a DIC microscope cost
approximately $1 to $2.
A number of design elements lead
Ozcan to believe his lensless microscope will be a useful
medical tool in resource-limited settings, such as some countries
in Africa. Two key requirements for such settings are ease
of use and durability.
Smallest Telemedicine Microscope requires minimal
training; because of its large imaging field of view, the
sample does not need to be scanned or perfectly aligned in
the microscope. And operating the microscope is as simple
as filling a chip with a sample and sliding the chip into
a slot on the side of the microscope.
Because of its large aperture, the lensless
microscope is also resistant to problems caused by debris
clogging the light source. In addition, there are few moving
parts, making the microscope fairly robust.