To picture the next-gen microscope, don't picture a microscope at all. Aydogan Ozcan, an assistant professor of electrical engineering and member of the California NanoSystems Institute at UCLA, is adapting cell phones to sample biological images.
This is no iPhone app. Ozcan, who formed the company Microskia (on the heels of the UC Berkeley team that developed CellScope), has built a prototype whose cell phone camera sensor can detect a slide's contents at a cellular level--reading, for example, an increase in white blood cell count that might indicate a new infection or injury. That information can then be forwarded wirelessly to a lab or hospital.
The brilliance of Ozcan's design is that magnification is done electronically, requiring no lens. (CellScope, on the other hand, takes a more conventional approach as a miniature microscope with expensive lenses.) … Read more