Use of “Smart Cup” and phone camera in diagnosis of pathogens

Use of “Smart Cup” and phone camera for diagnosis of disease-causing agent (Image source:
“Smart Cup” and phone camera for diagnosis of disease-causing agent (Image source:

Main Point:

A newly developed “Smart Cup” can detect disease-causing agents such as herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) with the help of smartphone camera.

Published in:

Sensors and Actuators B: Chemical

Study Further:

Many novel ways of detecting infectious diseases have been developed. Among those methods are nucleic-acid amplification-based diagnostics that are sensitive, rapid, and specific on one side, but expensive, and requiring extensive procedure and trained personnel on the other side. That is why; such procedures are not available in many of those areas where infectious diseases can easily spread.

Recently, researchers have introduced a simple and inexpensive device, a smart cup that can detect pathogens in a rapid manner. This cup uses smartphone camera and its flashlight. Actually, the cup takes help of water-triggered exothermic chemical reaction to produce heat for nucleic acid-based, isothermal amplification. The amplification temperature is maintained at 60°C -65°C with the help of a phase-change material (PCM). Flashlight on the camera is used to activate the fluorescent dye, and the smartphone camera records real-time fluorescence emission during the process of amplification. The smartphone also checks multiple amplification reactors and analyze the obtained information.

Researchers have already used the cup in the diagnosis of HSV-2, which is responsible for genital herpes. Interestingly, this cup can be used anywhere, i.e. at home, in the clinic, or in the field, and in areas where sophisticated laboratories are not available.


Liao, S., Peng, J., Mauk, M., Awasthi, S., Song, J., Friedman, H., Bau, H., & Liu, C. (2016). Smart cup: A minimally-instrumented, smartphone-based point-of-care molecular diagnostic device Sensors and Actuators B: Chemical, 229, 232-238 DOI: 10.1016/j.snb.2016.01.073

Usman Zafar Paracha

Usman Zafar Paracha is a sort of entrepreneur. He is the author of "Color Atlas of Statistics", and the owner of an Android game "Faily Rocket."