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In future, the Zika virus could be detected using mobile phone cameras.

Meanwhile, an American research team has been banking on the phone’s magnetometer – not for navigation, but for reading blood sugar levels.

First they created a small sensor containing a double-layered hydrogel embedded with tiny magnetic particles. Then they attached it to the smartphone above the magnetometer.

On contact with a drop of blood, the hydrogel either expanded or contracted – denoting glucose or acid levels in the blood.

Through the movement of the gel particles, the sensor perceived changes in the strength of the magnetic field. This allowed precise conclusions to be drawn about glucose concentration levels.

Mobile phones could also measure blood pressure or serve as pocket microscopes.

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