x PhoneArena is looking for new authors! To view all available positions, click here.
  • Home
  • News
  • Illumina is developing a smartphone chip that could replace primary doctors

Illumina is developing a smartphone chip that could replace primary doctors

Posted: , by Victor H.

Tags:

Illumina is developing a smartphone chip that could replace primary doctors

Illumina, the company that claims it brought human genome sequencing down to $1000 prices, has now turned its attention to a consumer product - a chip that you can plug into your smartphone and have it read your genetic information.

The goal is to turn your smartphone into a “molecular stethoscope”, allowing you to reduce (or even skip) visits to a primary doctor. In fact, Illumina CTO Mostafa Ronaghi has a bold prediction: "We will not need a primary doctor in the future, you will get tested [at home or in a clinic] and go directly to a specialist - I believe it will happen in five to seven years."

I believe it will happen in five to seven years

The biggest challenge ahead of Illumina is simplifying the process of genetic sequencing. Currently, Illumina’s DNA sequencers are gigantic machines that use techinques like colorimetry to work, but while the core technology is computational, it takes some 30 steps to extract genetic data and run it through. This process will likely have to be hugely simplified on mobile devices, given the fact that some studies require extracting 10 mililiters of blood. Illumina researchers are also working on finding the optimal technology for this on-chip DNA sequencing - be it electrical, optical, or other.

Illumina is one of the most prominent names in genetics, often said to be the Intel of genetic sequencing, as just like Intel it provides the algorithms, the processing brain that runs a DNA reading task.

After bringing down DNA sequencing to $1000 level, Illumina is turning its eye towards a consumer product - a smartphone DNA-reading chip

After bringing down DNA sequencing to $1000 level, Illumina is turning its eye towards a consumer product - a smartphone DNA-reading chip


In other recent smartphone-related biotech news, drug company Pfizer launched its REMOTE project, a new type of clinical trial that does not require going to a hospital for checks - targeted at patients with overactive bladder problems, the FDA-approved REMOTE project allowed to gather data from patients from over 10 states remotely, via mobile devices.

The two companies join the biggest names in tech that have recently started a big effort to aggregate health and fitness data from the myriads of sensors that we’d likely be wearing soon (some of us already are). Two weeks ago, Apple unveiled its HealthKit framework that wearables can use to send data into the new Health app, and Google is also expected to launch its similar Google Fit effort at Google I/O on June 25th. Microsoft does not lag far behind and is said to be preparing its own smartwatch that can continuously measure your heart rate, but we have not heard much about Redmond implementing a framework for existing wearables.

In either case, it now seems clear that smartphones are slowly moving towards assuming the role of our primary doctor. And isn’t that what the tri-corder dream has always been about?

source: EE Times via Fierce BiotechIT

5 Comments
  • Options
    Close




posted on 16 Jun 2014, 09:02

1. hassoups (Posts: 281; Member since: 06 Jun 2013)


thanks for cheering me up on the week i have my finals to become unemployed in 5-7 years :D

posted on 17 Jun 2014, 01:12

5. Victor.H (Posts: 410; Member since: 27 May 2011)


Anytime! :)

posted on 17 Jun 2014, 14:12

6. sgogeta4 (Posts: 391; Member since: 02 Feb 2011)


Honestly doubt you'll be out of a job any time in your lifetime. While genetics is an important part of your health, the environment has a significant part as well. And while raw data can be analyzed by computers, you will still need a human to verify it. EKGs for example are still notoriously inaccurate when read by machines and even though they are getting better, you don't want to miss a diagnosis by relying on machines.

posted on 16 Jun 2014, 11:31 1

2. chocowii (Posts: 327; Member since: 30 Jan 2014)


And the NSA will have a record of your DNAs too! Nice try but I'll pass.

posted on 16 Jun 2014, 18:14

4. DAMONORIBELLO (Posts: 85; Member since: 18 Mar 2012)


If they wanted it, they could have it, without you knowing it.

Want to comment? Please login or register.

Latest stories