Smartphones as instruments for science

Feature article in Nature, Vol. 545, Issue 7652, pp. 119-121, 04 May 2017, “Pocket laboratories”


Summary of article: Since its introduction in 2007, smartphones have achieved a level of penetration in the consumer market, both in developing countries and developed economies, that it is almost ubiquitous in life. Buttressed by the multi-function and customization it brought forth to a piece of handheld electronic device, smartphone enables us to not only communicate on the move, it also helps us find information and perform tasks on the go, which previously would require us to travel in-person to accomplish. More recently, advent of various smartphone science measurement apps and instrument accessories facilitate the collection of science data of publishable quality using the optical camera common in smartphone. Indeed, optical imaging by the high resolution (8 megapixel) rear camera is the most common use of smartphone as science instruments, an example of which is CellScope. Beyond imaging, the microphone function of smartphones could also be used in noise measurement surveys such as that enabled by the Science Journal app from Google Play Store. Thus, accessories and science measurement apps could turn a humble budget smartphone such as those common in the Asia Pacific into data collection devices useful for scientific discoveries. Putting science measurement into everyone’s hands through free apps and cheap accessories remain an emerging endeavour, where a multitude of possibilities abound for data collection across the natural sciences and engineering.


Link to original article:


Category: Interesting scientific articles, instruments, biotechnology,

Tags: science instruments, smartphone, imaging accessories, rear camera, microphone, apps,


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