Oxford Nanopore Technologies has created a device that uses nanotechnology to put a complete lab on a single printed circuit board. It also can strip away single strands of DNA, which greatly reduces the preparation required for test samples. They have created the MinION device that connects to a laptop using a USB cable to produce immediate results. This amazing device fits in your hand, and is already commercially available. The big news, however, is that they have shrunk the technology even further to create the SmidgION. While it is still in development, it is a module that attaches to the bottom of a smartphone, and a small, removable cartridge contains the entire lab module.
This new technology means that sophisticated analysis of biological materials can be performed anywhere, any time, with little preparation.
SmidgION uses the same core nanopore sensing technology as MinION and PromethION but will be designed for use with smartphones or other mobile, low power devices. It is designed to cater for a broad range of field-based analyses; potential applications may include remote monitoring of pathogens in a breakout or infectious disease; the on-site analysis of environmental samples such as water/metagenomics samples, real time species ID for analysis of food, timber, wildlife or even unknown samples; field-based analysis of agricultural environments, and much more.