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May 23, 2008

BehindTheMedspeak: Medical Imaging With a Cellphone — Episode 2: Mobile Microscope

Episode 1 six days ago introduced the cellphone as a diagnostic imaging tool.

Today we have a look at using it as a microscope, enabling remote diagnosis and monitoring of many illnesses without geographic limits.

Here's a article from the May 17, 2008 Economist about this very promising technology.

    Doctor on call: Mobile-phone microscopes

    Simple accessories could turn mobile phones into useful medical devices

    Robi Maamari stares intently at the screen of his mobile phone. The student is not squinting to tap out yet another daft text message, but looking carefully for the faint blue dots that are the tell-tale diagnostic signature of malaria.

    Mr Maamari is a member of a research team led by Dan Fletcher, a professor of bioengineering at the University of California, Berkeley, which has developed a cheap attachment to turn the digital camera on many of today's mobile phones into a microscope. Called a CellScope, it can show individual white and red blood cells, which means that with the correct stain it can be used to identify the parasite that causes malaria. Moreover, by transmitting an image directly over the mobile network, the CellScope could greatly help with the remote diagnosis and monitoring of many illnesses.

    The project, which began as a challenge by Dr Fletcher to his undergraduate students to turn their mobile phones into microscopes, gained momentum when they came up with some practical designs. Although the first prototype covered a tabletop, the latest uses commercially available lenses fitted inside a tube that snaps directly onto the phone. One end has a clip for holding a sample slide, and different levels of magnification are possible. The team thinks the attachments, if mass-produced, could be made smaller and tougher, and sell for less than $100.

    The diagnosis of malaria was the first test because it demands a high-quality image. In recent weeks the team has successfully identified its first samples. Eventually CellScope promises to extend the clinician's range. Someone with a small amount of training would be able to take and stain blood samples, and then capture and transmit images to an expert who could carry out the diagnosis.

    The images also help create digital records, which would make it easier to monitor and verify the success of a drug trial or the introduction of mosquito nets in a remote area, for instance.

    Not surprisingly, interest in the project is growing. Microsoft has donated some camera phones equipped with satellite-navigation devices and Nokia has been in touch. Even the research arm of America's defence department has expressed an interest. Once a final prototype is ready, it may be tested by doctors in the Philippines and Colombia.

    Applications need not be confined to the developing world. Many cancer patients have to travel to a hospital each week for simple cell counts to be carried out. Dr Fletcher hopes the CellScope may enable them to do this from home. Also, farmers who suffer crop blight could send images from plant samples for remote diagnosis by agricultural experts. The Berkeley team is working on this idea with the University of Florida, which runs a remote diagnostics programme for farmers.



Above, the CellScope in use.

Here's a link to a March 19, 2008 Technology Review article about the device.

May 23, 2008 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Numbered Limited Edition Newton Parachute Bag


25 bags were constructed from one parachute.

Each bag is one-of-a-kind and reversible.

Parachute cord straps.


18 have been sold.

13"Ø x 8" deep.

Do the math.


7* remain.



* In case your calculator's broken

May 23, 2008 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Britain's Dirtiest Hotel


The envelope please... and the winner is: The Nanford Guest House (above) on Iffley Road in Oxford, England.

"Guests have described the Nanford on the TripAdvisor website as "horrendous," "squalid," "a total and utter dump," and "dirty, smelly and should be shut down."

"Of the 10 dirtiest UK hotels, one — the Europa Gatwick in West Sussex — appeared on the list for the third year running.

Three other Europa hotels were on this year's list — the Britannia Stockport, Greater Manchester, the Britannia Birmingham and the Britannia Country House Hotel, Didsbury, Manchester.

UK's Top 10 Dirtiest Hotels

1. Nanford Guest House, Oxford

2. Manor Court Hotel, Notting Hill, west London

3. Britannia Hotel Stockport, Greater Manchester

4. Europa Gatwick, West Sussex

5. Whiteleaf Hotel, Inverness Terrace, west London

6. Park Hotel, Belgrave Road, London

7. County Hotel, Carlisle, Cumbria

8. Britannia Hotel, Birmingham

9. Eden Plaza Hotel, South Kensington, London

10. Britannia Country House, Didsbury, Manchester.

May 23, 2008 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Car Mini Fridge — No more waiting for the next exit


From the website:

Rolling Mini Fridge

Sleek mini-fridge rolls easily with over a case of cans.

Use the programmable digital thermostat to set your desired temperature.

Cools to 40°F or warms to 140°F using an extremely quiet thermoelectric system.

Heavy-duty wheels and extending pull handle make transporting 28 cans a breeze.

The lighted interior holds up to 28 cans, or remove the shelf for 2-liter bottles or milk containers.

Includes a 12-volt adapter for car or boat or add the optional 110v adapter (#10262) for home, office or hotel.



May 23, 2008 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

for your amusement


That's what "fya" means when you see it in the subject line of an email from me.

Not for your attention.

Not for your anger.

It means whatever I want it to mean and that's what I want it to mean.

You don't like it?

No problema — I'll refund every penny you paid for your All Access pass.

May 23, 2008 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Aki Umbrella Stand


Designed by Rodolfo Bonetto.

From the website:

    Aki Umbrella Stand

    An umbrella stand with attitude!

    The Aki — meaning autumn in Japanese — is an unusual and invigorating addition to any foyer or entrance hall.

    Thanks to its bright, solid colors and smooth geometric shape, it is sure to provide a much needed contrast to a dark and dismal day.

    18.75"L x 7.75"W x 13.75"H.

    Rotomolded polyethylene.



Yellow, White, Sky Blue, Orange or Light Grey.


May 23, 2008 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

When life gives you a bug, make bug juice — Episode 2: A TechnoDolt's dream comes true


Last evening while I was sleeping (hey, joe, we were wondering how you could tell that apart from your daily routine — but we digress) joehead Mark Throneberry decided to make my night and threw me a bone in the form of an email slugged "You too can have the bug."

The entirety of the email was an empty white field so I figured it was just some spam or errant message but then the penny dropped in the form of the little bug trapped above, making its endless rounds.

Mark was alluding to yesterday's 10:01 a.m. post in which I featured abr's website, where I happened on the ancestor of this wonderful creature.

The more time I spend studying the two bugs — abr's and mine — the more I see a remarkable resemblance, so much so that I'm beginning to think this might indeed be a biological black op, the insect version of Snuppy.

In any case, welcome aboard.

Once again we see that it takes very, very little to make me happy.

Which makes me a rich man, indeed.

Thank you, Mark!

May 23, 2008 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Wan Light


Designed by Naoto Fukusawa.

From the website:


    Translated as "bowl" in Japanese, the Wan delicately holds its light in a beautifully curved shell.

    Encased in its walls are sand-like iron particles, allowing you to direct the angle of light by simply shifting the weight of the bowl.

    More lovely than its shape, however, is its glow, as its thick rim softens the contours of the light to a subtle, diffused hue.

    Bulb: max 60W (silver bowl lamp).

    Polycarbonate and aluminum.

    13"Ø x 8"H.



White or Silver, with choice of flood or narrow light distribution.


May 23, 2008 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

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