South Korean scientists said Monday they had developed new technology to use transistors in devices for quick diagnosis of diseases such as diabetes.
The biosensor technology was developed by a research team at the state-run Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology.
"We proved that transistors can be used not only for computers but also for devices that convert biological responses into electrical signals," team leader Choi Yang-Kyu told AFP.
Biosensors detect biological responses or changes and convert them into an electrical signal that can be read. Currently, they are electrochemical or optical.
"But our technology using existing transistors will open the way for the mass production of cheap but highly efficient biosensors," he said.
"We have developed technology to create a tiny gap on a transistor to fill it with bio-molecules, or biologically responsive materials that detect diseases," he said.
He said the new technology could be applied to healthcare, food quality appraisal or environmental monitoring.
"I believe a cell phone equipped with a cheap biosensor can be produced in the near future," he said.
One of the most widespread uses of biosensors is by people with diabetes who need to regularly monitor their blood-glucose levels.