Trobe University Researcher invention turns mobile phone into the portable biosensor laboratories. The researcher has come up with a phone-based biosensor. The phone-based biosensor intended to be used to examine saliva, blood as well as water in place of laboratory analysis. Associate Professor from Trobe University stated that the team of the researcher had been amazed to discover Android smartphones that shared many features with expensive electrochemical instruments. The researcher used the audio electronics of the phone such as the microphone jack, disposable paper test strip, camera and audio functions.
They also make use of an app to perform chemical measurements. The developed technology would help people in remote areas and in future, the technology may lead to patients conducting their home diagnostic test. Dr. Hogan said, “With this method, there is no need for any other instrumentation whatsoever and the results are obtained directly by the phone using a software app”. Further, he added, “This significantly reduces the cost of chemical measurements and could make important diagnostic or environmental testing available to millions of people around the world”. The Android voltammetry basically involves the scientists using the mobile smartphone as a biosensor to measure molecules in test samples. The wires are attached to the test strip and they are run from the phone’s audio jack. A voltage signal is sent from the phone’s audio output to generate light when the sample is applied to the strip. And the generated light is detected by the phone’s camera. Professor Hogan said, “The sensor uses the electricity to trigger a luminescent chemical reaction — a process known as electrochemiluminescence — and that allows us to detect low concentrations of molecules of interest”. The team started using the device to detect the presence of lead in water whereas the aim is to use the device to test for disease markers. Prof Hogan said, “It’s really important to be able to measure levels of toxic chemicals in the water”. Further, Hogan added, “And that would be normally done by an analytical chemist in a laboratory, using an instrument called a potentiostat”. The invention is useful for the developing countries or in remote areas where access to a laboratory is limited. The developed device could be used to measure lead in drinking water as well as it could measure arsenic in water.