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Researchers at the UCLA Samueli School of Engineering have demonstrated that deep learning, a powerful form of artificial intelligence, can discern and enhance microscopic details in photos taken by smartphones. The technique improves the resolution and color details of smartphone images so much that they approach the quality of images from laboratory-grade microscopes.

The advance could help bring high-quality medical diagnostics into resource-poor regions, where people otherwise do not have access to high-end diagnostic technologies. And the technique uses attachments that can be inexpensively produced with a 3-D printer, at less than $100 a piece, versus the thousands of dollars it would cost to buy laboratory-grade equipment that produces images of similar quality.

Cameras on today's smartphones are designed to photograph people and scenery, not to produce high-resolution microscopic images. So the researchers developed an attachment that can be placed over the smartphone lens to increase the resolution and the visibility of tiny details of the images they take, down to a scale of approximately one millionth of a meter.

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Category: Science