Histopathology is the examination of body tissue and not a subject we usually write much about on Dpreview Connect. However, last month a scientific paper was published in the Histopathology journal, in which the authors, Dr. Mark Li-cheng Wu and Dr. John Paul Graff, describe how they've used a Nokia Lumia 1020 smartphone to identify a type of bacteria.

The Nokia Blog sat down with Dr. Wu and Dr. Graff, who are experts in the field of photomicrography, to find out more about how and why the Lumia device was used.  In the interview the scientists explain how the Lumia 1020 was connected to a state-of-the-art microscope and its high pixel-count used to digitally zoom in for better view of detail. For the experiments  JPEG images were captured but the authors believe shooting in the phone's Raw mode could result in even more image detail, something we have examined in our article on the Lumia 1020's Raw output.

Apart from high resolution, the Nokia's optical image stabilization makes it an ideal candidate for the job, as it allows for handheld shooting through the barrel of the microscope’s ocular. This also means you can move the phone from one microscope to another, while in traditional setups the camera and microscope are a fixed unit.

According to the scientists, in a hospital environment the phone's Windows OS is an advantage, too, as most hospital networks in the US are Windows-based and images can be easily transferred via the OneDrive cloud service. The mobile OS also allows Dr. Graff, who has a computer science background, to build tailor-made apps, such as for wireless control of the microscope.

While the two scientists are clearly excited about the potential of their Lumia phones in the research environment they also had some suggestions for improvement, including better battery life and a microSD-card slot to store the Nokia's huge 41MP files. Nevertheless, it's good news that a standard piece of consumer electronics can do the job of very expensive specialist equipment and become a valuable diagnostics tool. You can read the complete interview on the  Nokia Blog.