Computational Optics & Translational Imaging Lab

Point-of-Care Devices

Mobile-based diagnostic tools

Every year, nearly 3 million newborns die globally within the first 4 weeks of life. In the meantime, over 287,000 women die during pregnancy or following childbirth. Nearly all of these deaths occur in low and middle-income countries (LMICs). We felt the urgency to eliminate this disparity in healthcare and are determined to make innovations to bring life-saving point-of-care diagnostic tools to the resource-poor countries. In 2011, with the funding support from the Bill&Melinda Gates Foundation, we started an investigation on developing low-cost mobile-phone based near-infrared imaging systems. In 2013, we worked with clinical collaborators and initiated another project to develop a mobile-phone thermal imager for diagnosing childhood pneumonia. We hypothesized that the asymmetry in the chest temperature distributions is a marker to the inflammation in the lung due to pneumonia. Our pilot study successfully validated this hypothesis, showing 100% sensitivity and 75% specificity from 12 subjects. The exciting preliminary results from both projects ensured successful funding from the US Agency for International Development (USAID) in the Saving Lives at Birth campaign. In 2015, our project on non-contact mobile oximeter was named one of the 30 leading innovations in the Innovation Countdown 2030 Initiative’s inaugural report ( In 2017, we completed the design of three prototypes of mobile-based oximeters and will begin our clinical studies at MGH startin in the last quarter of 2017.