Smartphone Accessory Uses Camera to Check for Dangerous Cholesterol Levels

1218_13_019.CR2Smartphones are revolutionizing the healthcare industry, both with advances for hospitals and optometrists working in African outposts – but they’re especially useful for patients. With the amazing resolution of smartphone cameras and apps, researchers are able to piece together a cholesterol test that’s as accessible as a selfie.

The technology is form Cornell University researchers, and their camera accessory could change the way we stay healthy. With the increase in diabetes and heart disease, maintaining healthy cholesterol levels is as imperative as exercise and dieting.

It is estimated that 60% of adults in the US have high cholesterol (over 200 mg/dl), with 37 million among them having very high cholesterol (over 250 mg/dl). Long-term studies on the effect of serum cholesterol  on coronary heart disease mortality indicate that there is a 17% increase in mortality rate for every  20mg/dl increase in serum cholesterol levels above 210mg/dl. Monitoring cholesterol levels is important because it can empower people to make lifestyle choices for preventing heart disease later in life


With an at home test, users can get their own blood sample and use the phone’s camera and flash to capture the necessary results within minutes without the use of expensive medical equipment:

The system can quantify cholesterol levels from colorimetric changes due to cholesterol reacting enzymatically on a dry reagent test strip. It consists of a smartphone accessory that allows uniform and repeatable image acquisition of the test strip and an app that analyzes parameters such as hue, saturation and luminosity of the test area, quantifies the cholesterol levels and displays the value on the screen.