dna-microscope3D printing technology has certainly jumped by leaps and bounds over the years, and it does not look as though it is about to slow down anytime soon. Well, researchers over at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) have come up with a highly affordable 3D-printed attachment which is capable of transforming smartphones into sophisticated microscopes. When used alongside this new device, a smartphone is capable of detecting single DNA strands, while analyzing them to diagnose diseases which will range from cancer to Alzheimer’s without bulky and expensive equipment.


The era of cheap and portable medical diagnostics will eventually be able to make a tangible difference when it comes to assisting patients in third-world countries as well as those who live in hard to reach areas, where microscopes have proven themselves to be an integral segment of the arsenal. This unique smartphone attachment is so powerful, it lets smartphones scan single strands of DNA – we are talking about it being a mere two nanometers across, yo!

Of course, being able to do something does not mean that it is accurate, which is why the scientists have tested out the device’s accuracy by imaging stretched DNA segments. It was reliable for DNA strands of 10,000 base pairs or above, but not so when it comes to strands below 5,000 pairs. [Press Release]

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