March 14, 2016

Finnish invention enables point-of-care microscopy

Mobile diagnostics require an affordable and easily portable device that makes it possible to digitise the specimen to be analysed.
Mobile diagnostics require an affordable and easily portable device that makes it possible to digitise the specimen to be analysed.
Lukas Lundin

Finnish researchers have developed an affordable, compact and easily portable mobile microscope. The invention will ease the shortage of global experts, as it enables rapid remote diagnostics using artificial intelligence.

There is a severe shortage of diagnostics experts worldwide, especially in the poorer countries. Access to a pathologist’s or microbiologist’s opinion through a remote connection would make the diagnostic process more effective. Now it is possible to take the microscope, which has previously been tied to a laboratory, to where the patient is.

The MoMic mobile microscope developed by the research group led by Johan Lundin at the University of Helsinki’s Institute for Molecular Medicine FIMM achieves a laboratory-level resolution and scans an area of the specimen large enough for making a diagnosis. The device is wirelessly connected to a cloud server where the images can be transmitted for machine vision analysis.

The device and the remote diagnostics process are currently being tested in Tanzania, where the focus of the research group is on developing remote diagnostics for parasitic diseases, such as malaria, and cancers. Access to diagnostics services through a remote connection would considerably improve the situation for Tanzanian patients, as the country has 45 million inhabitants but only around 20 trained pathologists.

The device will be tested in Finnish operating rooms later this year. The University of Oulu from Finland, the University of Muhimbili from Tanzania and a few small companies from Finland are also involved in the project. Lundin has received funding for the further development of the mobile microscope.

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