Democratization of Diagnostics Tools Through Computational Imaging and Sensing
In addition to this remarkable increase in throughput, another major benefit of this technology is that it lends itself to field-portable and cost-effective designs which easily integrate with smartphones to conduct giga-pixel tele-pathology and microscopy even in resource-poor and remote settings where traditional techniques are difficult to implement and sustain, thus opening the door to various telemedicine applications in global health. Some other examples of these smartphone-based biomedical tools that I will describe include imaging flow cytometers, immunochromatographic diagnostic test readers, bacteria/pathogen sensors, blood analyzers for complete blood count, and allergen detectors. Through the development of similar computational imagers, I will also report the discovery of new 3D swimming patterns observed in human and animal sperm. One of this newly discovered and extremely rare motion is in the form of “chiral ribbons” where the planar swings of the sperm head occur on an osculating plane creating in some cases a helical ribbon and in some others a twisted ribbon. Shedding light onto the statistics and biophysics of various micro-swimmers’ 3D motion, these results provide an important example of how biomedical imaging significantly benefits from emerging computational algorithms/theories, revolutionizing existing tools for observing various micro- and nano-scale phenomena in innovative, high-throughput, and yet cost-effective ways.