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This smartphone gadget will tell you if you have an STD or not

The dongle can test you for HIV and syphilis and deliver the results in the space of 15 minutes.

Image: Shutterstock/nenetus

STD TESTS COULD become more accessible after a team of researchers built a testing device that can plug into your smartphone.

Researchers from Columbia Engineering have developed a low-cost smartphone dongle that can test you for HIV and syphilis from a single prick of blood.

The smartphone acts as a monitor, providing step-by-step instructions on the procedure, and provides results in 15 minutes.

Apart from its size, the major feature of it is the low power consumption. This was kept as low as possible, only your smartphone is used as a power source, and instead of accessing the battery directly, it uses the headphones jack as a way of powering it and transmitting data.

While it’s able to recreate the same lab tests you normally associate with such procedures, the cost of manufacturing a dongle is estimated to be $34 (€30).

The aim is to bring this dongle to developing countries as a way of detecting infections faster and reducing deaths. The step-by-step instructions means little training is required to work them and the device has already been tested in Rwanda.

Over there, it took 30 minutes to teach healthcare workers how to use the device and almost all patients (97% to be exact) said they would recommend the dongle because of its fast turn-around time and simplicity.

The associate professor of biomedical engineering at Columbia Engineering Samuel K.Sia, who led the project, said they were looking at how the technology could benefit both those in developing markets as well as those back home.

Source: Sia Lab/YouTube

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About the author:

Quinton O'Reilly

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