For the past eight years, Samuel Sia, associate professor of biomedical engineering at Columbia University, has been working in Rwanda, where the scourge of sexually transmitted diseases is being passed from pregnant women to unborn children.
"The World Health Organization has identified HIV and syphilis as two of the top-level diseases needed for portable blood tests for pregnant women," Sia said . ".
"We know that early diagnosis and treatment of pregnant women can significantly reduce the adverse effects on mothers and infants.
By increasing the detection of syphilis infection, we can reduce the number of deaths by ten times.
"To achieve this, Sia and his team have developed a miniature version of a standard diagnostic device that works with smartphones.
It plugs into the headphone jack of an iOS or Android phone, just the energy provided by the phone's battery.
As a result, it opens its diagnosis from hospitals, bringing tests to remote areas with limited access to health care and a shortage of funds.
Popular live news: the Tony Award deadly crane collapse trophy hunting documentary "Women's World Cup" dongle has copied a blood test called ELISA covering a variety of applications, including markers for identifying infectious and chronic diseases, hormonal imbalances, and vitamin deficiency.
Using it is similar to the way people with diabetes test their blood sugar: needles, a drop of blood and near-instant feedback. (
The video below shows the whole process. )
After prompting the user through the instructions on the touch screen of the mobile phone, the Colombian device can return the results within 15 minutes.
In a pilot study in Rwanda, health care workers successfully tested 96 HIV and syphilis patients using the device after 30 minutes of training.
Much cheaper than traditional equipment.
Sia estimates that the manufacturing cost of the device is approximately $34 compared to the $18,450 price tag for the ELISA machine.
This is good for both developing countries and the first world.
"We are interested in both global health apps and domestic consumer health apps," Sia told CBS News . ".
"By conducting routine tests from hospitals, pharmacies and people's homes, there is great potential to reduce medical costs.