Protect Yourself with the Latest Weapon Against GMOs – Smartphone Technology

smartphone gmo app

29th May 2014

By  Carolanne Wright

Contributing Writer for Wake Up World

Consumers will soon have the power to conduct on the spot tests for a variety of poisons in their food — including GMOs, nanoparticals, pesticides and bacteria. Using smartphone technology, along with a specialized cradle and app, researchers have developed a biosensor that identifies various toxins, bacteria, viruses, proteins and other molecules in mere seconds. With the pervasiveness of GMOs and other dangerous elements infiltrating our food supply at every turn, using modern technology to add another layer of protection against these hazards is a smart move.

As unbelievable as it may seem, the average person contends with an astounding amount of environmental pollutants on a daily basis.  Prevent Disease  drives the point home in the article, “Consumers Will Soon Have Devices In Their Hands To Detect GMO and Toxic Foods”:

“Every human being on every developed nation on Earth, whether living in a rural or isolated area, in the middle of a large city, or near an industrialized area, now contains at least 700 contaminants in their body including pesticides, phthalates, benzenes, parabens, xylenes and many other carcinogenic and endocrine disrupting chemicals.”

The human body has turned into a toxic waste dump, and drastic measures are needed simply to maintain a modicum of health and prevent serious disease. It’s high time we know exactly what is in our food — and technology just may provide a solution.

The Role of Smartphones

Brian Cunnigham, a professor of electrical and computer engineering and of bioengineering at the  University of Illinois, believes that “smartphones are making a big impact on our society — the way we get our information, the way we communicate.” And he sees the value in creating mobile platforms that inexpensively and non-invasively detect pathogens, disease biomarkers, DNA or even  GMOs.

In response, Cunnigham’s team has created a wedge-shaped cradle that has a series of lenses and filters which are similar to much larger (and more expensive) laboratory instruments. The phone’s camera is held in alignment with these optical elements by a cradle. According to  Prevent Disease:

“At the heart of the biosensor is a photonic crystal. A photonic crystal is like a mirror that only reflects one wavelength of light while the rest of the spectrum passes through. When anything biological attaches to the photonic crystal — such as protein, cells, pathogens or DNA — the reflected color will shift from a shorter wavelength to a longer wavelength.”

Step by step instructions walk the user through the process, which takes only a minute or two. As accurate as a $50,000 lab spectrophotometer, the cradle utilizes around $200 worth of optical parts. Not only cost-effective, the device is also extremely portable for fieldwork in developing nations — as well as for day-to-day use by health conscious consumers.

The researchers are currently improving manufacturing processes for the iPhone cradle, with an Android version in the works as well. Cunnigham and his team are aiming for a public release sometime this year.

Sources for this article include:

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About the author:

Carolanne Wright

I’m Carolanne — a writer, chef, traveler and enthusiastic advocate for sustainability, organics and joyful living. It’s good to have you here. If you would like to learn more, connect with me at or visit


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