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In the near future, smartphones will be equipped to handle a range of heath care services, including pregnancy tests.

This revolutionary technique would allow women to benefit from real-time readings through an app, where one can instantly share the experience with close family and friends.

“We have the potential to develop small and robust lab-on-a-chip devices for smartphones. So, surface plasmon resonance sensors could become ubiquitous now,” said Kort Bremer, inventor and co-author of the new paper with Bernhard Roth, director, Hanover Centre for Optical Technologies (HOT), University of Hanover, Germany.

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Mobile Pregnancy Detection Using Light

The new biosensing technology currently being developed works by turning a smartphone into a sensitive monitor. These days, mobile devices already have a light detector and a light source, two essential components that are needed to test samples for biological particles. To enhance the stock smartphone camera, researchers designed a 400-micrometer diameter core multimode fiber with a silver-coated sensing region. The added piece, which attaches to the back cover, intensifies the accuracy of the light.

In a study conducted by Bremer and Roth, the procedure was used to test the concentration levels of glycerol. In line with the the surface plasmon resonance (SPR) method, scientists dropped a sample on a metallic film for analysis. The research was a success and the team was able to confirm their findings using conventional screening techniques. Although still far away from an official consumer release, the duo hopes to continue to develop and polish the kit.

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Increasing STD Awareness and Detection

Medical sensory kits are the next big thing to hit the health care space. Individuals with busy lifestyles simply do not have time to spend hours waiting in a clinic lobby just to see a doctor. For people who are concerned about their privacy, such units could help keep their findings discreet.

Planned Parenthood, a California-based company, is leading the thriving industry by specializing in mobile STD tests. Qualified users (must be at least 16 years old with proof of a California address) can order a kit directly from the app for $149. After taking the test, the sample is sent to the lab for processing.

Should an individual test positive for chlamydia, he or she will be provided with a prescription. For gonorrhea, the process is a bit more complicated. In most cases, an antibiotic shot is required. Because of this, the platform will direct the patient to a nearby medical facility for treatment.

“The future of health care is online, and for Planned Parenthood that means developing and testing new programs that allow people to fit the sexual and reproductive care they need into their busy lives. Planned Parenthood Direct and Planned Parenthood Care are exciting developments, but they’re only the beginning for Planned Parenthood,” said Jill Balderson, vice president of health innovation at Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

“As online health care delivery evolves, Planned Parenthood will evolve with it. We’re committed to finding innovative solutions to bring quality, accessible reproductive and sexual health care to people wherever they are.”

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