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A Smartphone Dongle That Will Tell You If You’ve Got STDs

February 8, 2015

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After the hoverboard, there are few sci-fi inventions more worked-on than Star Trek’s tricorder. Portable, simple diagnostic machines have been promised for years, there’s even a $7 million prize for building one, but most designs are still years away from reality. While this particular smartphone dongle certainly isn’t a tricorder, it can only diagnose three conditions, it does at least exist outside of a lab.

The dongle, designed by a team from Columbia Engineering, has already spent time with healthcare workers in Rwanda. The device can detect HIV or syphilis antibodies, using a process called immunoassay.

Healthcare workers just have to prick the finger of the patient, load the blood into a micro fluid cassette, then load the cassette into the dongle and wait for 15 minutes. The entire process is guided by on-screen pictures.Overall very little training is needed to use it.


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