Sen­sor tells you what’s in your grub

Modern Healthcare - - OUTLIERS / ASIDES & INSIDES -

Afraid there may be peanuts or other al­ler­gens hid­ing in that cookie? Thanks to a cra­dle and app that turn your smart­phone into a hand­held biosen­sor, you may soon be able to run on-the-spot tests for food safety, en­vi­ron­men­tal tox­ins, med­i­cal di­ag­nos­tics and more.

The hand­held biosen­sor was de­vel­oped by re­searchers at the Univer­sity of Illi­nois at Ur­banaCham­paign. A se­ries of lenses and fil­ters in the cra­dle mir­ror those found in larger, more ex­pen­sive lab­o­ra­tory de­vices. To­gether, the cra­dle and app trans­form a smart­phone into a tool that can de­tect tox­ins and bac­te­ria, spot wa­ter con­tam­i­na­tion and iden­tify al­ler­gens in food.

Kenny Long, a grad­u­ate re­searcher at the univer­sity, says the team was able to make the smart­phone even smarter with mod­i­fi­ca­tions to the cell­phone cam­era.

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