app-colorimetrix-2Leonardo Martinez Hurtado, a Mexican researcher, can transform any smartphone in a small laboratory of colorimetry, by enabling an application created by him. With the development, the person can know in a couple of minutes the levels of glucose in urine, the presence of any harmful organism in the body, if the kidney is functioning properly, or if there are problems with hormonal levels, among other readings that indicate our body’s health.

Thanks to the application, called Colorimetrix, the smartphone operates using the same principle of a spectrophotometer, which uses sensors similar to those of digital cameras, in order to detect types of electromagnetic radiation. Then, colors are assigned to the detected types to confirm the presence or absence of certain biomarkers.

In addition to the application, the user needs a diagnostic test strip, with which the sample is taken. Then, the application reads and interprets the results through the smartphone’s camera. Since light differences affect the image results captured by the phone’s camera, Martinez Hurtado solved the problem by developing several algorithms.

When talking about the advantages of the application, Martinez Hurtado said that diagnostic strips can be very cheap, which was taken into account when the development was originally promoted. So, using Colorimetrix is easy and safe. Furthermore, users can use the phone’s connectivity to store or send results data, and it can be used in remote locations.

By using this system, it is possible to evaluate kidney function, Martinez Hurtado said as an example. The strip has to be wet with the user’s urine and wait for a minute. Then, the user opens the application and points to the sample with the camera as if he would be taking a photo.  Once the application scans the sample and interprets the reading, it displays message showing if there are problems, if a physician has to be contacted and when to re-measure. The application delivers the results in microseconds, in other words, immediately.

He also said that his app can be used to recognize certain hormonal problems, for example those affecting growth in children, or those causing problems when trying to conceive. The app can also read tests strips designed to detect viral diseases or if the user was exposed to bacteria. In short, it can be used for many other health problems that can be diagnosed using test strips.

The range of opportunities in which we participate is huge, but there are other aspirations. For example, there are countries with problems of potable water so we would like to help by using Colorimetrix in assessing water tanks.”

For this development, Leonardo Martinez Hurtado was recognized as one of Mexico’s young innovators under 35 by MIT’s Technology Review magazine in 2014. This has attracted the attention of companies and institutions interested in using Colorimetrix for veterinary testing and also for biomarker analysis related to athletes’ performance. Moreover, Kidney Health Australia, an organization that evaluates kidney health of the population through urine tests, contacted the Mexican researcher.


Source: La Jornada