Mobile Innovation – Using the Device as a Microscope

Innovative thinkers are always finding new ways to leverage the power of the mobile device. We’ve seen the screen used for a flashlight, the device used as a compass and lots of other novelty oriented uses (just take a look at the iPhone’s app store). But now a professor of engineering has been able to use the software and hardware features of a mobile device to create a microscope capable of checking for diseases.

The New York Times article cites an example where a user could place a slide of blood under a cheap external hardware setup on the device and the mobile device’s camera could image that blood. The image could be sent from the device to a doctor for analysis.

I really think we’ll start to see more of these types of applications, where the device’s capability is enhanced with bolt-on solutions capable of exploiting the mobility of the human operator and the device and extending the power of the hardware and software.

Mobile learning can truly benefit from thinking along the same lines, especially if you consider the number of field deployed workers who operate several different electronic tools, sensors to diagnose problems with equipment etc. Using the device as a central hub for those types of sensors could really make life easier for those types of employees. And the networked communication of a mobile device offers the ability to receive real-time feedback on procedures, and training on the spot for those who operate sensors and diagnostic equipment.

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1 comment so far

  1. Nancy Munro on

    I agree, this is when we will see the real power of mobile devices. Not just accessing traditional PC based applications but taking advantage of what the device and the flexibility of always on and mobile can do for the user. I recently wrote a white paper “Java isn’t coffee and Android is not an alien” to help companies get their heads around how to think differently about using mobile devices.


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