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Future Shock, Doc

Mar 25, 2015 02:00PM ● By Cate Reynolds
Drones, cars that drive themselves, and now smartphones that diagnose our illnesses. Or at least facilitate the diagnosis. You may be surprised to discover that the technology comes from a very reputable source.

A team of researchers at the Columbia University School of Engineering and Applied Science has developed a low-cost smartphone accessory that can perform something they call a point-of-care test that simultaneously detects three infectious disease markers from a finger prick of blood in just 15 minutes. The device replicates all mechanical, optical, and electronic functions of a lab-based blood test. And it does something that a single lab test can’t do—perform a triplexed immunoassay testing for HIV and syphilis.

Lead scientist Samuel K. Sia, associate professor of biomedical engineering at Columbia Engineering, says, “We are really excited about the next steps in bringing this product to the market in developing countries. And we are equally excited about exploring how this technology can benefit patients and consumers back home.”

--Sarah Hagerty
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