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Cellular Phone Gets E Coli Sensor

By Cornelius Nunev

In case you are nervous about getting food borne diseases such as E coli, you need to think about getting a device created by experts at a university. The gadget searches for E coli bacteria by using ultraviolet and LED lights.

Get the E coli accessory

According to the Centers for Disease Control, the E coli bacteria is one you need to try to stay away from at all costs, though it is the most common food-borne illness, also known as the Escherichia Coli bacteria. The E coli O157:H7 strain is the most common one that produces the shiga toxin to make people sick. There is a reason why the UCLA developed an accessory to help keep away from it. Occasionally, the disease just causes diarrhea and vomiting, which could really be from anything. Sometimes, it is very dangerous and can cause death though. Many people never know they have it, but that does not mean you should go around eating whatever you want without any concerns.

Phones can be safe too

Ordinarily, one needs a laboratory to be able to identify E coli, but some researchers from UCLA, according to the Daily Mail, have invented a device that clips on to the back of a cellular phone or on top of the phone's camera. The device has on-board batteries that power it. It works by dripping liquid samples of whatever the user wishes to test for E coli, which are pumped into tiny glass tubes, called capillaries, with LED lights at one end and a solution emulsified with quantum-dot E coli antibodies. Quantum dots, put as simply, are tiny semi-conductors; if E coli can be detected in the sample, it conducts currents to the LEDs, lighting them up. Then, according to the abstract on UCLA's site, a second lens housed in the gadget, which fits between the capillaries and the mobile phone camera, magnifies the image so a picture can be taken by the phone's camera.

Manufacturing a long ways off

The gadget was only recently reported in Analyst, a journal of the Royal Society of Chemistry. According to L.A. Weekly, it's only a proof-of-concept; it's not known if it is close to or even will make it into production. Comparable devices such as CellScope, according to Popular Science, have been developed. CellScope is basically a battery-powered microscope which similarly attaches to the back of a cellular phone, over the camera, and images are taken and sent using the phone and camera. It has obvious use as a diagnostic tool and has already undergone some field testing in Africa.

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