A $34 smart phone dongle being developed by Columbia University could become the future of rapid HIV screening in clinics and the privacy of peoples’ homes. The proposed smartphone peripheral would operate similar to the way that most blood glucose testers currently function. Unlike most blood testers the testing dongle wouldn’t need its own power source, but would instead draw energy from a smartphone, tablet, or PC via a headphone jack. With a single drop of blood the device, detailed in Science Translational Medicine, would be able to effectively screen for HIV and two different types of syphilis antibodies.
The dongle is currently being tested in small trials in certain parts of Rwanda, and its early results have been promising, though flawed. Of the 96 patients participating in the technology’s limited trials, a number have been falsely identified as testing positive for antibodies that they didn’t have. Still though, further refinement and widespread deployment of future versions of the dongle could change the way that people participate in maintaining the public’s health.
Check out video of the dongle prototype AFTER THE JUMP…
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