a sperm sample can be filmed using the device
The healthiness of sperm can be an issue when it comes to having children.
Fertility tests are the common way of checking, but they can be embarrassing for many men who feel awkward visiting a doctor or clinic to have a test.
Now, you can use a smartphone aided by a clip-on device which has a very powerful lens to do the same thing.
Turning your smartphone into a powerful microscope, a sperm sample can be filmed using the device. A doctor can then watch the video to determine any potential fertility problems, such as a low sperm count or weak sperm.
A team of researchers at University of Illinois in Chicago (UIC) have developed the lens for the device and it is less than 1mm in thickness. When clipped onto a smartphone, an image can be magnified 555 times, providing ample magnification to check individual sperm cells.
Lead researcher Yoshitomo Kobori, originally from the Dokkyo Medical University Koshigaya Hospital in Japan, says: “Everyone has a smartphone now, and they have good cameras,” and told the New Scientist:
“I thought a smartphone microscope could be an easy way to look at problems with male fertility.”
Kobori has been behind the development of the camera and the smartphone app which adds the instant diagnosis capabilities.
Kobori says: “[Japanese men] are thinking that semen analyses are an embarrassment, inconvenience, disgrace, and waste of time.” An issue which no doubt resonates in South Asian communities too, showing the need for such a device.
To do the test, a small sample of semem is placed on a plastic sheet, after about five minutes of ejaculation. Then, the smartphone camera device is pressed up close to the sample, to record a clip of about 3 seconds, which is ample for an expert to gauge the health of the sperm.
What is impressive about the device to date is its accuracy. In 50 semen sample tests, the camera device results were almost the same as the software being used by fertility clinics.
The camera device is already on sale in Japan and shall be available in other countries soon.