Phone Sensor for E.coli Detection

Health and technology go hand in hand. When you go to see a doctor it is all over the place: the MRI machine, CT scan machine, PET scan, electric cardiogram, EEG, and the list goes on. These machines are essential tools to brining people the best health care possible, but they are expensive and bulky making them almost impossible to carry around. This is often necessary when working in a developing country, which is why smaller or more portable technologies would make bringing health care to everyone easier-those in developed and developing countries.

One new technology that will improve exposure to E. coli is a cell phone-based fluorescent imaging sensor. This sensor was produced by researchers at the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science and may be used to find traces of E. coli in contaminated food or water. This device can be fixed to any  cell-phone camera and uses batter-powered light-emitting diodes to detect E. Coli particles present on a capillary surface. According to the article “fewer than 100 E. coli particles can destroy the human kidneys, the cells in the intestinal lining, cause blood clots in the human brain as well as cause paralysis, seizures and respiratory failure.” Although this device will not help health care providers directly, it will decrease the number of people being exposed to E. Coli. This will benefit us in developed and developing countries alike.


About hmfraser

Student of Environmental Studies and International Development View all posts by hmfraser

3 responses to “Phone Sensor for E.coli Detection

  • jessalynkunz

    I know that during a few of the recent E.coli scares that we have had in the US, people would have been wanting this type of technology. During outbreaks, having such an accesible way to determine your nutritional safety would provide needed peace of mind. For those in the developing world, this technology wouldn’t necessarily be useful on an everyday basis. I am curious about how much this detector would costs however. If it is at a reasonable price and developing and rural communities can afford it, I could see this becoming a staple in many households.

  • sophiwaterr

    I am not an advocate of technology (mainly for environmental sustainability reasons), but I would fully sponsor this product. It’s a practical way to send aid to people who need it most.

  • chelseabrennan

    I agree with the first comment posted. It probably wouldn’t be used on a regular basis in households in developing countries, but it would still be beneficial on a more macro level in developing countries. For example, one for a village or small community to check their water/food sources. I think this technology would be extremely beneficial if it can be developed to be cost-efficient.

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