Alumni of IIT-Bombay have developed a portable microscope, which can benefit those living in remote areas where the diagnostic facilities are poor, said scientists.
“The microscope is smaller than the conventional ones used in labs. It is connected to a mobile phone, which converts the magnified image taken by its camera into a digital one,” said Samrat Singh, co-founder of the start-up that designed the device at IIT-Bombay last year.
The device can be used to screen infections such as malaria and tuberculosis and even take pictures, which could then be sent to laboratories in urban areas for quicker diagnosis, said scientists.
“To ensure that the quality of the images is good, we give a mobile phone that has a high-resolution camera,” said Greeshma Unnikrishnan, one of the co-founders.
Many city-based scientists and pathologists have already started using the device.
Dr Jude Vaz, chief pathologist at Bandra’s Holy Family Hospital, said, “Unlike doctors who carry stethoscopes around their necks, we pathologists cannot carry our microscopes everywhere. This device is useful as it can be carried around.”
While most desk microscopes are priced above Rs1 lakh, this device costs approximately Rs35,000, which includes the cost of the mobile phone provided with the microscope.
According to Dr Deepa Bhartia, a senior faculty at the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR)-associated National Institute of Reproductive Research in Health in Parel, the image quality of the microscope is as good as those taken by any imported device.
“Not only is the image quality excellent, it is way inexpensive as compared to other microscopes,” said Dr Bhartia.