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Smartphones today have so many revolutionary apps and accessories it’s hard to keep up. But here’s the latest: an award-winning team has recently created a low-cost lens for your phone that helps you automatically diagnose diseases and conditions.

Author Jo Wilkinson, 08.13.14

Smartphones today have so many revolutionary apps and accessories it’s hard to keep up. But here’s the latest: an award-winning team has recently created a low-cost lens for your phone that helps you automatically diagnose diseases and conditions.

Athelas was a prize-winning entry at a coding event held by Californian start-up hub, Y Combinato. In little over a day the team set to change the nature of blood analysis in the medical industry. Their creation is based on predictive cell-counting. It involves magnifying a sample of blood, and algorithmically counting and identifying cells in the bloodstream. Then, it helps diagnose.

The team believes their creation has the power to save thousands of lives. It’s cheap, quick, and requires no expertise. For rural settings it really could make a difference. But of course, we must be weary.

Mobile medical apps will play a pivotal role in revolutionising the standard practice and care, but replacing it is a different story. The medical industry is filled with regulations to ensure the right diagnosis is given, and history has proven the app market is not as reliable. In 2011, Pfizer had to pull its rheumatology smartphone app off the market because it was providing its users with faulty results.

Still, there’s plenty room to grow, develop and make a mark, which is an exciting challenge. A challenge the team behind Athelas definitely stood up to.

Send an email. Check. Listen to music. Check. Test for malaria? With caution, check.

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