We report on the adaptation of a smartphone's rear-facing camera to function as a spectrometer that measures the spectrum of light scattered by common paper-based assay test strips. We utilize a cartridge that enables a linear series of test pads in a single strip to be swiped past the read head of the instrument while the phone's camera records video. The strip is housed in a custom-fabricated cartridge that slides through the instrument to facilitate illumination with white light from the smartphone's flash LED that is directed through an optical fiber. We demonstrate the ability to detect subtle changes in the scattered spectrum that enables quantitative analysis of single-Analyte and multi-Analyte strips. The demonstrated capability can be applied to broad classes of paper-based assays in which visual observation of colored strips is not sufficiently quantitative, and for which analysis of red-green-blue pixel values of a camera image are not capable of measuring complex scattered spectra.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number8494768
Pages (from-to)508-514
Number of pages7
JournalIEEE Sensors Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 15 2019


  • Biomarkers
  • biomedical monitoring
  • biosensors
  • cellular phones
  • multimodal sensors
  • patient monitoring
  • point-of-care
  • smartphone biosensing
  • smartphone spectroscopy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Instrumentation
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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