The smartphone has become a necessity in many people's lives. Now it is also becoming a part in scientific research as well. The smartphone is used for live cell imaging, which can be less expensive.
Viewing and making movies of living cells used to be expensive. Now though that can be less expensive with a smartphone being used for it. A study at Uppsala University has shown how a smartphone might be used to view living cells.
The team from Uppsala University created an instrument with a smartphone as its centerpiece that is very much less expensive. The total cost is less than $300 to make it, far cheaper than what is being used in labs now to view live cells. The team has explained that the reason why live cell research is expensive is that strict environmental controls have to be implemented while the cells are being viewed.
The team has called the instrument they made as the Affordable Time-Lapsed Imaging and Incubation System (ATLIS). The ATLIS has four main parts. These are the imaging module, heating unit, onstage incubator and control unit. All of the components have been made by the team.
The main centerpiece is the smartphone which is part of the imaging module. The smartphone is used to capture high quality images at frequent intervals. A 3D printer holder has been used to hold the smartphone in place. This is also used to adjust the smartphone when capturing images, according to 3DPrint.com.
The heating unit is there so that the cells might be at the right temperature while being viewed. This is like an incubator where warm air goes in. It has a heating element as well as temperature sensor in order to monitor the temperature inside the incubator.
For the control unit an Arduino 3.0 Nano AT328 microcontroller has been used. Along with it is a Bluetooth communications module, a power transistor and a voltage regulator. All in all, the whole system has been shown to provide high-resolution imaging of living cells, as Science Daily reports.
Johan Kreuger, senior lecturer at the Department of Medical Cell Biology at Uppsala University said that the project can give researchers with limited funds a way to have equipment that could be expensive. It can also give way to have scientists make their own equipment in the future. With the invention, a smartphone is used for live cell imaging. Scientists have also been able to create ice clouds from the lab recently.