48

Nokia Lumia 1020 used as microscope in low-cost DNA sequencer

The Nokia Lumia 1020 was launched back in 2013, but with its large 41MP sensor and innovative down-scaling algorithms is by many still regarded as one of the best smartphone cameras today. 

Now, a team of researchers from the University of California, Sweden's Stockholm University and Uppsala University has used exactly that camera to design a smartphone-based low-cost DNA sequencer and molecular analyzer. A $500 3D-printed attachment turns the Lumia camera into a microscope that can then be used by health workers in developing nations and remote locations to find genetic mutations that cause diseases without analyzing samples in a lab. Usually, the equipment needed for this task costs tens of thousands of dollars. 

When testing, tissue samples are placed in a small container. The Lumia and optical attachment are then used to record multi-color fluorescence and bright-field images. The captured image data is fed into an algorithm for analysis in order to find any possible mutations. The teams says the design can detect even a small amount of cancer cells or other genetic mutations within a large amount of normal cells. 

Given the Lumia 1020 has been out of production for quite some time it's good news that the optical attachment can be adapted to work with more recent smartphone models. 

Comments

All (48)
Most popular (1)
Editors' picks (0)
DPR staff (0)
Oldest first
Peiasdf

Nokia have a future building Sentinels

2 months ago
bettyswolloks
bettyswolloks

I love my 1020. The thing will even shoot DNG!! It even has proper sensor based image stabilization like good old Pentax, you can hear it rattling about when handle it.

2 months ago
Dpreviewmember
Dpreviewmember

True, still using mine.
Add the camera grip accessory and you'll get a better grip, tripod support and 50% extra battery life.

2 months ago
bettyswolloks
bettyswolloks

Been on the look out for a grip for a while now, look like it would help me handle it easier with my big daft hands to :)

2 months ago
Bilgy_no1
Bilgy_no1

The PureView solution is IMHO still the best way to achieve both great IQ and zoom in a smartphone. The large sensor (1/1.2" in the 808) and downsampling pretty much guarantee great IQ, while the high resolution allows for lossless zoom. All this was enabled by an extremely high standard optical lens. The camera module may not be tiny or flush with the body, but it's much more compact than a zoomlens.

Zoom lens based options have never allowed a really compact phone design and have limited lens apertures. The other option is the dual camera solution, which only has two 'zoom' positions. But these are usually with one sensor being inferior (LG G5) or two small sensors (iPhone 7 Plus). Samsung S7/S7 Edge now has a lens cover that comes with two lenses: a wide angle, and a 2x zoom. Pretty good quality, but with some hassle of lens changing.

Such a pity that the phones that had these PureView cameras were not very attractive on other features. The 1020 was severely hindered by its slow processor, which was a limitation of the Windows Phone platform at the time. Photo processing was way too slow. Also, the platforms themselves were an obstacle: Symbian on the 808 was already in decline, while Windows Phone on the 1020 never took off. For me, that was the reason to not buy them. Then, when I finally decided to give Windows 10 Mobile a chance, PureView on the 950XL was watered down to 1/2.5" and 20MP. Still, that camera is better than the S7 Edge in some comparisons I made.

I do hope that the technology will make it to the market again in an attractive high end Android flagship, now that the Nokia brand is back. Not sure where the PureView patents went in the deals between Nokia, Microsoft and HMD Global. Could be they're still with Microsoft who will let them rot...

2 months ago
Mike FL

FWIW, NOKIA lost its PureView key member to APPLE years ago.

2 months ago
Dpreviewmember
Dpreviewmember

I still use my N1020, yes the camera processing is much slower than my iPhone6 but the zoom is unmatched in IQ, leaves the iPhone6 eating dust. I also like the better detail and in low light situations the 1020 is way better than the iPhone6 too.
It doesn't run Win10 but didn't find any need for it yet. As a matter of fact in my case I only miss a couple of Apps every time I switch from the iPhone to the 1020.

2 months ago
Mike FL

Nokia 1020's sensor is larger than most, if not all the iPhone and Android phone, but it misses some Apps which I use such as:
- No more Skype as it is only under Win10 now,
- Chromecast audio
- My phone company has no plan to write App for windows phone
- My cameras have no OEM Apps for any windows phone
- Windows phone has no decent voice input Apps
- more

I wish Nokia re-use 1020 camera module (with updated sensor) in its just released new Android phone, but Nokia did not do that.

Too bad.

2 months ago*
cosinaphile

i regret this sensor didn't find a home in a camera somewhere

2 months ago
Dpreviewmember
Dpreviewmember

Good point !
... or in a newer version of the phone with a faster processor.

2 months ago
vigna

Dosen't make sense

2 months ago
Antek R

This posting is misleading. A microscope is not a DNA sequencer. However, imaging systems similar to microscopes are used in some sequencers. What are you really talking about? Please be precise. Since you say "tissue sample" rather than a processed DNA sample, presumably you mean a microscope, not a sequencer.

2 months ago
HB1969

This confused me to so I followed the links and came up with the original paper in Nature Communications
http://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms13913

2 months ago
Antek R

Exactly.

2 months ago
Dpreviewmember
Dpreviewmember

Great paper, thanks for the link !

2 months ago
HB1969

If only more people knew how to find the source material in news items, we wouldn't have such a problem with "alternate facts" ;)

2 months ago
EcoVictor

I used to own one of those 1020. Beautiful pictures, but a crappy cellphone. I also had an N8 (symbian) still working today...

2 months ago
Oclux

My Nokia N95 is in perfect condition, terrific camera, best cell phone sound system ever, wonderful like phone, unfortunately wifi connection is a pain.

2 months ago
jnd

If cameras had more open systems which can be expanded by apps and more complex processing, it would be great choice with utilizing larger sensors. Smartphone has all what you need, truly pocketable computer with small camera attached. Good enough if you give it a lot of light.

2 months ago
Mike FL

NOKIA phones' camera were good, but the problems are:
- none of the camera makers provide APPs for windows phone, and
- not too many developers care to write APPs for windows phone.

Now, NOKIA makes android phone, but the cameras are not as good as old NOKIA Windows phone so far.

In other words, Nothing has had been right about NOKIA.

2 months ago
eMTi
eMTi

@Mike FL, I have to agree with you. I have very bed experience with Nokia. Camera is good if it work. I was happy if I get 3-4 images out of 10. 5-6 good images will be miracle. Probably it is the worse camera phone on the market, I will not have Nokia even if it is for free.

2 months ago
Ben O Connor
Ben O Connor

Cellphones of 2012 and further are so capable as low cost pocket size computers.
No need to be slave of Apple or pay internal organs for sky high android prices.

2 months ago
OlyPent
OlyPent

Both Nikon and Swift made field microscopes (now quite sought-after on Ebay) which would have worked, but no LCD screens of course. There have been a number of microscopy "advances" announced using smartphones but I don't know if any have ever gone into production. A single-objective microscope based on a smartphone could easily be assembled by someone in an afternoon and you could tailor it with a high-quality plan-apo microscope objective. Would cost no more than $200-$300 plus the phone. Also, they mention the one above works in fluorscence mode. Does that box actually have dyes in it for specimens? P.S., no 3D printer can print a lens so that would be an extra.

2 months ago
HB1969

You save yourself $50000 on a proper microscope but the consumables for the molecular analysis are still quite expensive.
"Does that box actually have dyes in it for specimens?"
You add the dye to the specimens during sample processing. There's a filter and two lasers (different wavelengths) as part of the system.

2 months ago*
Petrogel
Petrogel

$500 can buy you a good microscope with a camera adapter

2 months ago
The Name is Bond

...and 50 times bigger.

2 months ago
HB1969

$500 buys you a "toy" microscope but that's what they've essentially created with a microscope objective attached to a phone and a 3d printed box. However, the phone can also do some of the computational analysis which a toy microscope can't do.

2 months ago
OlyPent
OlyPent

FYI, side issue: Incredible microscopes (used) can be bought for a song today. A Zeiss or Leitz that would have cost $2000 or more used 10 years ago (from the 60's or 70's) can often be had for $300-$500 today. Ironically, microscopy, a hobby declining like film (film today is better than ever, colour neg and B&W, anyway) sees its best opportunity for amateurs today.

2 months ago
HB1969

the cheaper microsocpes are brightfeild not flourescent, however it looks like Kuhnemund et al. have created a flouresent scope for under $1000...image looks terrible though but good enough for their purpose.

2 months ago
OlyPent
OlyPent

Yes, they won't win any Nikon Small World Contests with them! Plus, no threat of a lawsuit if some poor Third Worlder is misdiagnosed, unlike in the West, which is why professional set-ups here use $$$$$$ microscopes and cameras with medical-grade CCD's (ten times the price of sensors in consumer cameras).

2 months ago
wklee

I don't see why I couldn't be done with an old Nokia N9 running Maemo? Some people put. Sailfish OS in the N9s and Jolla is founded by ex Nokia employees.

2 months ago
otto k

Missing 41MP sensor?

2 months ago
otto k

I know it's a slim chance, but Nokia 808 Android edition would be a phone for me.

2 months ago
tkbslc

A Nokia 808 is ancient. 512MB of RAM and a Single core 1.3ghz would extremely painful to use. I doubt you could even text without major lag.

I'd prefer a new model with similar size sensor.

2 months ago
yellodog

I still use my 808 as a second phone, it's not that bad and as a mobile phone camera it's still unsurpassed what ever DxOMark say.

2 months ago
Lan

otto; me too!

...and I still use my 808 as my primary phone :)

2 months ago
otto k

@tkbslc oh, come on, nobody thought about re-releasing the same hardware. But, to be blunt - modern phone with large high resolution sensor, HW assisted downsampling, excellent lens, proper flash in package of manageable dimensions and with screen easily viewable in sun.
Slightly off topic - my Nokia N8 has a CCD sensor and xenon flash and it syncs at any speed - surprisingly useful for fill flash in sun (and there's something about CCD colors, they are not *better*, but they are different, especially the skin tones).

2 months ago
wklee

Lumia 1020, unlike the Nokia 808 which can take images at 38MP or 41 via 3rd Party app, 8MP or 5MP, can only take 21MP photos? I have not heard of 41MP output from the 1020.

2 months ago
Trevor G

Available as a DNG, easily settable in camera settings as JPG+DNG (5MP + 41MP).

Did you ever read a review?

2 months ago
wklee

No. I didn't. I was quite happy with my 808.

2 months ago
Death89
Death89

@otto k, the N8 has a cmos sensor. It's all in the processing...

2 months ago
otto k

@death although everybody is *guessing* that it has cmos sensor (it had never been specified by Nokia) I just took a flash photo with ss of 1/724s which is quite an achievement for electronic shutter. I know from past it can go faster and sync with flash. You can try it as well, put it to sports mode and flash to on (by default sports mode disables flash) and take a photo.
While it's possible they did something exceptional with cmos sensor, it looks very much like old ccd sensors (noise patterns as well, but that's very subjective).

2 months ago
Death89
Death89

Not so much. The N8 has a mechanical shutter. You can see it's closed when the camera isn't on (though mine used to stick sometimes requiring me to open the camera and close the app again). The N95, N86, N82, 808 and 1020 all have mechanical shutters. This allowed the Xenon equipped ones to sync at high speed.

2 months ago
otto k

Totally forgot about the in lens shutter. I stand corrected though having a mechanical shutter in lens that syncs at 1/2000s falls under exceptional in my book ;) always assumed it was using CCD and this was a cover to prevent blooming / streaking in bright light.
It also seems to use electronic first curtain as it closes only once.

2 months ago
Death89
Death89

Don't know about electronic first curtain. Someone else might. From what I understood it was more akin to leaf shutters, and because the aperture is so small it can get to those high speeds and sync. Same as my old FZ200 could sync up to max speed except under certain conditions I think.

2 months ago
FLruckas
FLruckas

The Star Trek tricorder finally comes to life!!!
:-)

2 months ago
falconeyes
falconeyes

I am sure the analyzing app plays the tricorder sound too :)

2 months ago
Josh Leavitt

Glad to see the Lumia phones are getting some market share...

2 months ago