Detect COVID-19 with Your Smartphone Camera? Scientists Make It Possible

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Smartphone cameras can do way more than just take pictures or video, as we have covered here on many occasions.

person in white long sleeve shirt and blue denim jeans holding pink yarn
Photo by CDC

But we didn’t expect them to be enlisted in the global fight against COVID-19 yet that’s happening and it could be a big boon for detection and prevention, Forbes reports.

From Forbes:

“The system uses a hotplate, cell phone, a 96-well plate, LED lights, and a chemical assay, all of which can be put together for $100. The chemicals required are mixed with saliva and placed in a well of the plate, which is much like miniature egg cradles in cartons, except that there are 96 per plate. The plate is warmed on a hotplate. A smartphone can read the chemical reaction and a diagnosis is available in only 25 minutes. Each test will cost $7, compared to $15+ for rapid antigen test kits and $100+ per PCR test.”

The setup here sounds similar to the diabetes detection system we covered in 2019. There, smartphones were being used to detect changes in blood flow, specifically whether an “app could detect changes in blood flow using a smartphone camera and photoplethysmography (PPG) signal.”

You can read about it at this link right here.

Of course, smartphones aren’t the only devices that are finding use in these areas; many smartwatches have a range of health-related functions that may be of benefit to the user.

Back to the COVID-19 detection system, Forbes reports that the major benefits of it include its cheap operating cost and ease of use as well as its strengths in detecting asymptomatic infections. Implicit in this, naturally, is that quicker detection of asymptomatic cases could assist with more effective quarantine procedures for at-risk people. And all with the use of a smartphone.

Check out some of our other photography news on Light Stalking at this link right here.

[Forbes]

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Kehl is our staff photography news writer and has over a decade of experience in online media and publishing and you can get to know him better here

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