A smartphone-based detector for mobile health applications

Unmet Need

It is estimated that there are over 6 billion smartphone users worldwide, which translates to almost 83% of the world’s population. Due to their widespread use, smartphones present a golden opportunity to redefine mobile health and diagnostics. Currently, to utilize smartphones for various optical and microscopy imaging and diagnostics, the user requires various accessories linked to the device which make the overall system more complex, cumbersome, and less robust. There is a need for practical device systems to rapidly detect and monitor diseases at the point of care, in remote areas far from clinical centers, or in low resource settings.

Technology

Duke inventors have developed a smart phone platform for mobile health. This is intended to be utilized in locations where resources are limited, and healthcare workers need a practical and rugged device in the field. Specifically, they have developed Krometriks, which is a smartphone equipped with a 3D printed accessory and an integrated custom-built software. The smartphone itself provides the light source and detector used in the various diagnostic assays with the device’s flashlight and built-in camera, respectively. Krometriks been demonstrated to be effective when tested on common assays that are based simply on color changes. The assay has been demonstrated to be effective when used as a colorimetric assay to detect cancer biomarkers such as microRNAs in patient bodily fluids. The modified device can be used to perform various assays to detect a variety of data, including colorimetry, scattering and absorption, and luminescence and bioluminescence. Further testing in the field for useability will be needed to validate the novel device.

Other Applications

This technology could also be applied to other non-medical applications. The device can be utilized for DNA, RNA, and protein detection in various assays across multiple fields such as: biomedical, point-of-care diagnostics, food safety, environmental monitoring, industrial process sensing, quality control applications biotech industrial control, heart disease diagnostics, homeland defense, and global health.

Advantages

  • The device is a robust and easy to use system ideal for clinical centers in low resource settings.
  • The minimal accessories of the smart phone platform allow for the ease of use and feasibility of the device.
  • The device allows for rapid non-invasive diagnostics of various conditions and molecules with widespread applications.