How a smartphone saves lives: Using the Nokia Lumia 1020 to screen medical conditions

It’s not a secret that today’s smartphone cameras are capable for more than the casual selfie. In fact, many pro photographers now employ mobile devices for their work. But did you know that they also have some serious, practical applications for science? Not too long ago, we reported about two independent projects that were developing tiny accessory lenses that could turn smartphones into viable microscope replacements, with the prospect of bringing screening solutions to parts of the world where proper medical devices are unaffordable or simply unavailable.

Recently, a team of scientists has been using the Nokia Lumia 1020 smartphone for medical screening, with great success. Thanks to the phone’s great camera – sporting 41 megapixels on a sensor the size of what you usually find in compact cameras – the team was able to hook the Lumia 1020 up to a microscope and take high-resolution images of human cells. Using the DNG RAW files the phone is able to record, they could zoom in at a greater level than would be possible with dedicated medical devices.

With this setup, Drs. Mark Li-cheng Wu and John Paul Graff were able to successfully examine and diagnose a patient with a bacterial infection that is, under normal circumstances, hard to detect due to the size of the bacteria. Thanks to the combined magnifying power of their microscope and the Lumia 1020’s 41-megapixel camera, they were able to detect a parasite measuring mere micrometers. Especially helpful was the fact that the individual pixels on the Lumia 1020’s measure just over a micrometer each, revealing even the smallest detail.

Wu and Graff see a lot of potential in mobile technology for scientific applications, especially in the medical sector where dedicated solutions often cost a small fortune. While they have found a couple of things that could be improved inthe  future, science-ready smartphones – such as higher resolution for the detection of even smaller details, higher shooting rates, the possibility to extend the camera’s memory, etc. – they were very happy with the Lumia 1020 overall, especially because it could be implemented so easily into the Windows-based workflow that many medical institutions employ.

The idea of using the Lumia 1020’s highly capable camera for research becomes even more exciting when considering the addition of an inexpensive magnifying lens, like the two we mentioned earlier. This way, all kinds of scientific applications that need great magnification – not only medical research – could be done easily out in the field, in places where dedicated equipment are cost-prohibited, or where equipment cannot be easily transported to. Just think of how this might revolutionize all kinds of scientific field work, and help make the world a better place for many people.

(Nokia Conversations via PetaPixel)


Midrange phones can’t do A.I., but MediaTek’s P90 chip aims to change that

MediaTek has announced the Helio P90 mobile processor, which it says will bring the best A.I. features we see on high-end smartphones, to the mid-range. We spoke to the company about the chip.

The best smartphone stocking stuffers for a very techy Christmas

If you've got a tech-loving smartphone enthusiast to buy for, we can help you out. Here's a selection of top phone accessories that would make amazing stocking stuffers so you can have a very Merry Christmas.

On a budget? We found the best affordable smartphones you can buy

Here are the best cheap phones for anyone working with a tight budget, whether you're a fan of stock Android or marathon battery life. Find out what you can get for under $500 or far, far less as we round up the best budget smartphones.

Save up to $750 with the best smartphone deals for December 2018

Need a better phone but don't want to spend a fortune? It's never a bad time to score a new smartphone and save some cash. We rounded up the best smartphone deals available that can save you as much as $750.

From DSLRs to mirrorless, these are the best cameras you can buy right now

From entry-level models to full-frame flagships, many cameras take great photos and video. The best digital cameras, however, push the industry forward with innovative sensors and improved usability, among other things. Here are our…

Photographers can now customize the layout of Lightroom Classic controls

Tired of scrolling past Lightroom tools that you don't use? Adobe Lightroom Classic now allows users to reorganize the Develop panel. The update comes along with new sharing options in Lightroom CC, and updates to the mobile Lightroom app.

Leave the laptop at home, the iPad Pro is the travel buddy to take on vacay

The iPad Pro is a powerful tablet that's perfect for creatives and professionals. How does it fare when traveling with it as a laptop replacement? We took it on a two week trek in Japan to find out.
Social Media

Instagram could be making a special type of account for influencers

Instagram influencers fall somewhere between a business profile and a typical Instagram, so the company is working on developing a type of account just for creators. The new account type would give creators more access to analytical data.

Best Products of 2018

Our reception desk has so many brown boxes stacked up, it looks like a loading dock. We’re on a first-name basis with the UPS guy. We get new dishwashers more frequently than most people get new shoes. What we’re trying to say is: We…

These are the best action cameras money can buy

Action cameras are great tools for capturing videos of your everyday activities, whether it's a birthday party or the steepest slope you've ever descended on your snowboard. These are the best money can buy.

Canon holiday sale features the Rebel T6 2-lens kit for just $449

If you have a budding photographer in your life in need of a real camera, the Canon EOS Rebel T6 could make the perfect gift. Canon is currently offering the camera in a two-lens bundle for just $449 through December 29.
Emerging Tech

Light, speed: Lighting kit for DJI Mavic 2 lets you fly and film in the dark

Lume Cube, maker of small battery-powered LED lights for mobile photography, has announced a new lighting kit built specifically for the DJI Mavic 2 -- the first of its kind. Already our favorite drone, this makes the Mavic 2 even better.
Social Media

Instagram’s 2018 year in review shines a light on where our hearts are

What did Instagram users share the most in 2018? A lot of heart emojis, heart face filters, and heart GIFs. The platform recently shared the year's top trends, including hashtags like #fortnite and #metoo along with a few surprises.

Want a fun, affordable instant camera? The Fujifilm Instax Mini 7S is just $49

Instant cameras have had a surprising resurgence of late, and no brand is better recognized in the instant photo space today than Fujifilm Instax. Walmart is currently offering the Instax Mini 7S for just $49.