Labstrip project wants to turn the iPhone into a mobile science lab
October 12, 2012
Mobile computing is changing the world. Tasks that could recently only be performed at a desk can now be done anywhere. It may be some time before an entire laboratory can be replaced by an iPhone, but the men behind a new Kickstarter project are taking an ambitious step in that direction.
Testing strips let anyone test a variety of chemical levels. To the inexperienced, though, analyzing those levels can be confusing. Brian Noland and Cas Hoefman want to make that process easier, more accurate, and perhaps more fun. They plan on tying that process to the iPhone with their project, LabStrip.
Field Testing in the Cloud
LabStrip is the combination of calibrated strips, a meter accessory, and a cloud-connected iOS app. Noland and Hoefman say that the meter helps to "augment the native optics of the iPhone" and remove distracting elements like ambient light. They promise that this yields more accurate results than existing strip-reading apps.
Apart from home pregnancy tests, many of us conduct our last lab strip reading around our junior years of high school. But there are several potential widespread uses for products like LabStrip, including spa care, aquarium maintenance, and beer brewing.
One of the more clever aspects of LabStrip is that its testing strips are pre-calibrated at the factory. Each lot's calibration is entered into the LabStrip database, Anywhere Science Cloud. On receiving the strips, customers would scan the QR code on the box, and their results would be adjusted accordingly.
We can, however, see one big potential problem. The prototype meter was designed for an iPhone 4 or 4S, and it doesn't look like it would fit an iPhone 5 (the camera wouldn't lie in the right spot). There is also no mention of Android support. If the project is a hit, it wouldn't be hard to adapt, but the pitch doesn't mention additional compatibility.
Though we've seen Kickstarter projects that appeal to broader demographics, LabStrip could find a niche. The recently-launched project also still has a ways to go to guarantee funding, so it's far from a sure thing. But if field testing in the cloud tickles your fancy, you can check out the team's Kickstarter video pitch below.