U of I Lab Develops Smartphone Diagnostic Tool

Researchers at University of Illinois have created technology that enables a smartphone to perform lab-grade medical tests.

TRI-Analyzer / Image: U of I
TRI-Analyzer / Image: U of I

A recent article from University of Illinois’ BIOENGINEERING divulged a recent development from the lab of Professor Brian Cunningham: a spectral analyzer that transforms a smartphone into a diagnostic tool. The spectral transmission-reflectance-intensity (TRI)-Analyzer costs just $550 and can analyze blood, urine, or saliva samples as accurately as much larger and more expensive clinic-based instruments.

The device works by converting the smartphone’s camera into a high-performance spectrometer by employing the phone’s LED flash to illuminate a sample fluid. The light is collected in an optical fiber and moves through a diffraction grating into the phone’s rear-facing internal camera. The optical components are then arranged in a 3D-printed plastic cradle. The TRI Analyzer can also be applied to animal health, environmental monitoring, drug testing, manufacturing quality control, and food safety. The technology is patented and available for license.

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