Cunningham leads development of Star Trek-inspired Smartphone Spectroscopy
Joseph Park, ECE ILLINOIS
10/16/2018 4:18:00 PM
ECE ILLINOIS Professor Brian T Cunningham, Donald Biggar Willett Professor in Engineering, is leading a team of researchers to exploit the convergence of smartphone computing and spectroscopy. According to Photonics Media, Cunningham's research team developed the TRI Analyzer, a 3D-printed cable that attaches to the back of a smartphone and uses the phone's internal camera as a visible-light spectrometer. "Cellphones today are very well engineered," Cunningham said. "And their hardware and software are very well-integrated."
Inspired by the Star Trek "tricorder," the TRI Analyzer can detect the photon emission spectrum of liquids used in three common biological diagnostic tests including an assay for fetal fibronectin protein which can indicate preterm birth, phenylketonuria screening for newborns, and an assay for the soluble transferrin receptor which is a biomarker of iron deficiency. The results from the TRI Analyzer were comparable to clinical-grade spectrometers.
"This approach is just better for the biological assays we have in mind, which generate colored products in the visible light range," said Cunningham. "We anticipate making these cradles for popular phone models."
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