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Nokia Lumia 1020 becomes a tool in medical research


Histopathology is the examination of body tissue and not a subject we usually write much about on Dpreview Connect. However, last month a scientific paper was published in the Histopathology journal, in which the authors, Dr. Mark Li-cheng Wu and Dr. John Paul Graff, describe how they've used a Nokia Lumia 1020 smartphone to identify a type of bacteria.

The Nokia Blog sat down with Dr. Wu and Dr. Graff, who are experts in the field of photomicrography, to find out more about how and why the Lumia device was used.  In the interview the scientists explain how the Lumia 1020 was connected to a state-of-the-art microscope and its high pixel-count used to digitally zoom in for better view of detail. For the experiments  JPEG images were captured but the authors believe shooting in the phone's Raw mode could result in even more image detail, something we have examined in our article on the Lumia 1020's Raw output.

Apart from high resolution, the Nokia's optical image stabilization makes it an ideal candidate for the job, as it allows for handheld shooting through the barrel of the microscope’s ocular. This also means you can move the phone from one microscope to another, while in traditional setups the camera and microscope are a fixed unit.

According to the scientists, in a hospital environment the phone's Windows OS is an advantage, too, as most hospital networks in the US are Windows-based and images can be easily transferred via the OneDrive cloud service. The mobile OS also allows Dr. Graff, who has a computer science background, to build tailor-made apps, such as for wireless control of the microscope.

While the two scientists are clearly excited about the potential of their Lumia phones in the research environment they also had some suggestions for improvement, including better battery life and a microSD-card slot to store the Nokia's huge 41MP files. Nevertheless, it's good news that a standard piece of consumer electronics can do the job of very expensive specialist equipment and become a valuable diagnostics tool. You can read the complete interview on the  Nokia Blog.



Total comments: 13

why not take the lens 1 has the function of genuine wireless connectivity with 1 the wrong phone for Windows Phone to capture quality images more images that are stored on poorly dt window. PNS glass top of a larger nor the microscope eyepiece to make shooting should also be


Not sure about the comment that a traditional setup has to be fixed to the microscope. There are many ways to make a camera-microscope setup portable. The eyepiece of a microscope often slides out and can be replaced with whatever kind of adapter you want. I've done a lot of photography like this, specifically of histology slides of fish gonads.

I used to use a 5 Mp Nikon Coolpix and 7 Mp Olympus C-7070, both high resolution cameras at the time. I had a hard time convincing other scientists that my setup was better than the 600x400 pixel (or thereabouts) setups that had been marketed to them as "made to take pictures through the microscope". They definitely had a blind spot where photography was concerned.


but you still mount your cameras to the microscope to prevent hand motion blur. with OIS these scientists have the speed and flexibility to take handheld images on multiple microscopes.


I have just got a Nokia 1020 on a cheap contract, presumably because a replacement is imminent, and all my compacts are going on eBay. It will suffice as a carry around with my Nex6. The results are tremendous though the response is slow but the resultant images are superb. It is the best small sensor compact up to 1/1.7" I have ever had and I have had a few. My wife has an S4 which gives excellent images but the Nokia is in a league of its own. Certainly not a toy.


The images are really nothing. Any digital can produce images as small as those represented. I thought that (toy) had 41mp?


Nokia Lumia 1020 becomes a tool in medical research…..
or how a medical research can become a tool to advertise a Nokia Lumia …..


Not alien at all - you too have this gut lining. Pathologists and other microscopists have been rigging up consumer cameras to their microscopes since the beginning of cameras. I am not that old, but I remember rigging up a plastic Polaroid camera to a student microscope to document fungal species for a science fair project back in 1967.


we have been doing this since ages, with android phones e.g Samsung galaxy SII.

As for transferring photos to PC, Airdriod works flawlessly

Edited 2 minutes after posting

sooo, any marketing analysts have any ideas what sells a camera (phone)?

Guess pretty soon if not yet, connected mobile device will take more pictures than any dedicated camera system.

Any guesstimate when a cellphone camera will be use for space mission, or may be in mission to mars (so you can always call home while make selfie on mars for you social network profile pict)?

1 upvote

I think most of the innovation with consumer tech will stay on the Earth for a while. Space tech is largely pretty old relative to consumer tech because it needs to be tested for extreme conditions (rocket launch vibration/G forces, extreme temp, alternate atmosphere, etc) and the data transmission links are very slow. See this article by DPReview about the Mars Rover camera -

1 upvote
By (unknown member) (Jun 3, 2014)

More pixels please. Thank you.

1 upvote

that's interesting stuff. the two biggest advantages over a more traditional setup seems to be the high resolution at a lower cost and the mobility to move the photographic equipment around at whim. the OIS falls under mobility since it is what allows them to hand hold the shots rather than set them up on brackets.

those are some rather alien looking images...

1 upvote

raw is kind of helpful, though of course there are other decent small/portable raw shooting cameras.

better contrast and color control helps with optical microscopy--that's sort of what all that sample staining is about.

Total comments: 13
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