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"Cholester-App" -- The Discovery Files


The Discovery Files
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Engineers at Cornell University have invented a smartphone device that uses the camera inside an iPhone to read your cholesterol level in about a minute.

Credit: NSF/Karson Productions

Audio Transcript:

Screen test

I'm Bob Karson with the discovery files--new advances in science and engineering from the National Science Foundation.

If you're one of the one in six Americans with high cholesterol, there may be an easier way to test.

(Audio) "... the problem is that right now most people have a difficult time being able to tell, either, a. What their cholesterol levels are... or, if what they're doing actually makes a difference."

David Erickson, Cornell University mechanical engineering professor, whose team has developed the smartcard device, "smartphone cholesterol application for rapid diagnostics." Yep, testing for cholesterol there's an app for that. It looks like a credit card reader that attaches over your phones camera.

(Audio) "the system comprises of an accessory that fits over a smartphone just like this, put a small drop of blood in the test strip, fit it into the back, open up the app, press a button, and it tells you what your cholesterol levels are."

The entire process takes about a minute, and works by doing colorimetric analysis of the strip through the camera. The system can detect biomarkers in blood, sweat or saliva. Right now it only shows total cholesterol levels the Cornell team is working to get it to measure HDL and LDL cholesterol levels, and triglycerides.

It's too bad they didn't make one of those mobile phone games out of it--"cholesterol crush saga," "clash of cholesterol"--maybe not.

"The discovery files" covers projects funded by the government's National Science Foundation. Federally sponsored research--brought to you, by you! Learn more at nsf.gov or on our podcast.

 
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