Instead of expensive equipment, smartphones can be used to make movies of living cells and observe their response to different treatments, show researchers.
Live imaging of cells is a very powerful tool for the study of cells, to learn about how cells respond to different treatments such as drugs or toxins.
The study published in the journal PLOS ONE showed that a simple smartphone can replace expensive equipment used for the process.
"The technology presented here can readily be adapted and modified according to the specific need of researchers, at a low cost," said Johan Kreuger from Uppsala University in Sweden.
"Indeed, in the future, it will be much more common that scientists create and modify their own research equipment, and this should greatly propel technology development," Kreuger said.
In the present study, old standard inverted microscopes that are very abundant at universities and hospitals were upgraded to high quality live imaging stations using a few 3D-printed parts, off-the-shelf electronics, and a smartphone.
It was shown that the resultant upgraded systems provided excellent cell culture conditions and enabled high-resolution imaging of living cells.