Only about a third of the world’s population has access to x-ray technology, but 80% of the world has cell phone coverage.
Some enterprising researchers in Israel have taken this information and made lemonade out of a bleak situation by developing technology that uses cell phones to help generate internal imagery of patients in remote locations without x-ray machinery.
The process involves sending mild electrical currents through the subject, with the conductivity of the body part in question measured and stored in a data acquisition device (DAD). Since diseased tissue transmits electrical currents differently than healthy tissue, the variation in conductivity can be measured (and later mapped into an image). The measurements are uploaded to a cell phone connected to the DAD, and the cell phone sends the information to a computer at a central site. The central computer is equipped with software that constructs an image based on the measurements.
The researchers estimate that the diagnosis and treatment of 20% of all diseases would benefit from medical imaging, but most people don’t have access to the technology.