Mobile technology is expanding at very accelerated pace and it has reached at an unimagined stage. Now, your touchscreen smartphone could diagnose illness by analyzing biological smears. Researchers at Korea Advanced Institute for Science and Technology revealed the potential of doing lab work on touchscreen of mobile phones. The lab-on-a-chip model has been highly praised as the future of simplified diagnostic medicine to collect sample of saliva, blood, or urine on a small chip that traps disease biomarkers, and send it off to a lab for analysis and diagnosis. And that chip can be the chip of your smartphone.
Capacitance (the ability of a capacitor to store energy in an electric field) property of touchscreen phone enables it to sense fingertips to investigate much smaller things, like DNA or pathogens. One of the researcher said “ability to detect small changes of capacitance could allow us to place a sample directly on our smartphone screens and analyze it for pathogens or disease markers”.
However, there are technological hurdles as well. Touchscreen devices contain software that cuts down on false capacitance signals imparted by things like sweat or ambient moisture. Such properties would need to be modified so that a diagnostic app could turn it off. Still, the idea of diagnosing flu or a range of other common ailments right on your smartphone is pretty far out.