smartphone medical deviceI’ve written several times in the past about smartphones being employed as the base platform for medical devices and diagnostic instruments. A new milestone has been reached using that strategy by researchers who have created a device that can image DNA sequences and can reportedly perform mutation analysis on living tissue.

The device is portable, easy to use, and can be manufactured for under $500. We are likely to see many more devices that will utilize the imaging and computing power of smartphones as their technology foundation. The portability and low cost of those devices will help advanced medical technology reach rural, third-world, and other underserved populations. Designing these new devices with user needs at the forefront will be important. It is a burgeoning area in which good design will have significant impact.