Smartphone attachment designed to detect HIV in 15 minutes could save millions of lives

by Shayne Rana

We use our smartphones for so many things it’s hard to keep track of the apps and attachments that are being developed for the various operating systems and devices. But ever-so-often some developer, or in this case researchers, comes up with a doozy of an app or accessory that will change the course of mobile technology and really take it forward in giant steps.

To illustrate this better, take for example the team of researchers from Columbia University who designed and developed a mobile attachable device that can test for STDs. The simple finger-pricking blood test device hooks up to your handset, draws necessary power from the phone’s battery and can give you a read out in just 15 minutes after analysis. It’s been designed to test for three infectious-disease markers as of now but who knows what the next iteration will be capable of.

Priced at a very reasonable $34, this small mobile “accessory” can conduct tests that would cost thousands of dollars in a professional lab with higher-end equipment. Of course one has to wonder just how accurate the test results will be as we’re not talking about a temperature checking thermometer here to tell if you have a fever or not; these are very serious diseases. So either way, a second opinion would be warranted till this device has proven its mettle. That being said, it has however been described as “full laboratory quality” by a head researcher and associate professor of biomedical engineering at Columbia.

Imagine the capabilities of something like this being utilized in countries where medical equipment is hard to come by and tests labs could take days to obtain results. The potential is enormous and yes, it could very easily save millions of lives. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is what technology is all about!

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