Windows Phone used in a scientific study of DNA analysis

Over three years ago, Nokia introduced the Lumia 1020 which packed a mammoth 41-megapixel camera and optical image stabilization, serving as the spiritual successor to the Symbian-based Nokia 808 PureView released back in 2012. With its heavy focus on its photography capabilities, the Lumia 1020 was released to market alongside a camera case accessory which added a secondary battery, tripod mount, and a camera grip.

Unfortunately, the Windows Phone 8 handset was encumbered by its mismatched dual-core Snapdragon S4 Plus processor. While photos shot with the smartphone were of remarkable quality, it was let down by its slow performance. While the Lumia 1020 failed to receive an official upgrade to Windows 10 Mobile, it has attracted attention as part of a recent scientific study.

Having identified that molecular diagnostics laboratories were not usually located in close proximity to patients requiring such services, a group of Swedish researchers experimented with using a Lumia 1020 for DNA sequencing, with promising results.

While an external lens module containing two laser diodes and a white LED was required, the accuracy of the prototype smartphone-based microscope ended up being very close to that of regular benchtop microscopes. In particular, the prototype was able to match the performance of an automated microscope when analyzing and identifying random regions of sampled tumors.

The researchers concluded that:

"... mobile-phone-enabled molecular diagnostic analysis may provide a simple, cost-effective and yet powerful means to integrate molecular marker information with traditional morphology analysis and might further help digital molecular pathology become widely accessible at POC offices and even in resource-limited settings."

Although we probably won't be seeing doctors and diagnosticians whipping out their smartphones in laboratories anytime soon, it does at least demonstrate that mobile-based imaging solutions could be a practical alternative in the absence of specialized equipment.

Source: Nature Communications via On MSFT

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