Skip to Content

HIV Monitor

A portable-and potentially very inexpensive-device for checking a person’s immune system could help fight HIV in developing countries.
February 15, 2004

Forty-two million people worldwide are infected with HIV, and the vast majority of them live in the developing world, with little access to sophisticated labs that can monitor their immune-cell levels-measurements critical to determining their need for and response to drugs. Researchers from the University of Texas at Austin and Boston’s Massachusetts General Hospital are developing a portable immune-cell reader to fill this gap. At the heart of the device is a microchip that filters white blood cells out of a few drops of blood and stains the key ones red, green, and yellow. A digital camera then takes a picture of the cells, which software analyzes to determine the counts of each cell type, indicating how well the immune system is holding up. Though the current prototype is the size of a desktop computer, the researchers aim to produce a handheld version within the year. Ultimately, they hope each test will cost less than $3, compared to the $35 to $60 charged by conventional labs. Early trials of the system conducted in Boston and Botswana have been encouraging. The researchers say testers in Botswana liked the prototype so much they didn’t want to send it back.

Other Prototypes

Keep Reading

Most Popular

computation concept
computation concept

How AI is reinventing what computers are

Three key ways artificial intelligence is changing what it means to compute.

still from Embodied Intelligence video
still from Embodied Intelligence video

These weird virtual creatures evolve their bodies to solve problems

They show how intelligence and body plans are closely linked—and could unlock AI for robots.

We reviewed three at-home covid tests. The results were mixed.

Over-the-counter coronavirus tests are finally available in the US. Some are more accurate and easier to use than others.

conceptual illustration showing various women's faces being scanned
conceptual illustration showing various women's faces being scanned

A horrifying new AI app swaps women into porn videos with a click

Deepfake researchers have long feared the day this would arrive.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose WongIllustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.