Increasingly, the smartphone’s integrated camera is being used as part of machine vision for medical applications. These technologies are based on the concept of litmus paper which changes between different colours depending on whether a chemical solution is acidic or alkaline, something a few of you may have seen demonstrated in the high-school chemistry class. The first application I highlighted was to use a urinalysis “control stick” along with the smartphone’s camera and a special app to identify what is in urine that is passed. Now this technology is being brought to blood analysis mainly to test for HIV, E. coli and staph in a patient’s blood. Here, a very small amount of the patient’s blood needs to be put on the film and it be examined by the smartphone’s camera with that phone running a special app. It avoids the need to send the sample to a laboratory to be analysed, because the film turns a different colour in the presence of an antibody makeup representing a particular disease. This is pitched at third-world communities or rural communities where it is cost-prohibitive for them to have a pathology laboratory located in a short-enough distance to provide quick-enough turnaround for test results for these diseases. There is even the ability where the pictures can be sent out to somewhere else for better expert opinion if the testing centre doesn’t have someone who is skilled enough. There are plans to even adapt this technology to detect more illnesses or check for pathogens in food and water. What I also see of this is it could open the path to “on-the-spot” screening-type pathology tests that dodge the need for sending out samples to a lab which I see as a boon for rural communities or telemedicine applications.