Annals of Biomedical Engineering

, Volume 42, Issue 11, pp 2205-2217

First online:

Smartphones for Cell and Biomolecular Detection

  • Xiyuan LiuAffiliated withDepartment of Mechanical Engineering, Michigan State University
  • , Tung-Yi LinAffiliated withDepartment of Mechanical Engineering, Michigan State University
  • , Peter B. LillehojAffiliated withDepartment of Mechanical Engineering, Michigan State University Email author 

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Recent advances in biomedical science and technology have played a significant role in the development of new sensors and assays for cell and biomolecular detection. Generally, these efforts are aimed at reducing the complexity and costs associated with diagnostic testing so that it can be performed outside of a laboratory or hospital setting, requiring minimal equipment and user involvement. In particular, point-of-care (POC) testing offers immense potential for many important applications including medical diagnosis, environmental monitoring, food safety, and biosecurity. When coupled with smartphones, POC systems can offer portability, ease of use and enhanced functionality while maintaining performance. This review article focuses on recent advancements and developments in smartphone-based POC systems within the last 6 years with an emphasis on cell and biomolecular detection. These devices typically comprise multiple components, such as detectors, sample processors, disposable chips, batteries, and software, which are integrated with a commercial smartphone. One of the most important aspects of developing these systems is the integration of these components onto a compact and lightweight platform that requires minimal power. Researchers have demonstrated several promising approaches employing various detection schemes and device configurations, and it is expected that further developments in biosensors, battery technology and miniaturized electronics will enable smartphone-based POC technologies to become more mainstream tools in the scientific and biomedical communities.


Point-of-care testing Biosensors Diagnostics Smartphones Mobile phones Microfluidics