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Cell Phone Apps Test for Disease
This scientific illustration depicts the cell phone microscope technology being developed by UCLA electrical engineer Aydogan Ozcan and his colleagues.
Credit: Zina Deretsky, National Science Foundation after Hongying Zhu et al. (Royal Society of Chemistry, 2010)

This ScienceLives article was provided to LiveScience in partnership with the National Science Foundation.

UCLA engineer Aydogan Ozcan is a pioneer with cell phone apps. Not games or widgets, but sophisticated biophotonics systems that allow doctors in the most remote regions of the world to analyze blood cells for malaria, test water for parasites and otherwise convert a communications device into a mobile lab. As part of his research, he also is helping develop sophisticated, yet bargain basement cheap, optics that allow a cell phone camera to serve as a lens-less microscope or a 3d-scanner. A winner of a 2010 Popular Mechanics Breakthrough award, he is profiled here, and his homepage is here. In the video below, Ozcan answers the ScienceLives 10 questions.

Name: Aydogan Ozcan
Age: 32
Institution: UCLA
Field of Study: Biophotonics

Below is a three-part video featuring Leon Esterowitz, Ozcan’s sponsor at NSF and a pioneer of medical laser and night vision technologies, describing the history of biophotonics and his own work on the Star Wars missile defense program and other efforts.

Editor's Note: This research was supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the federal agency charged with funding basic research and education across all fields of science and engineering. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation. See the ScienceLives archive.