Besides being top of mind as a fearful hitchhiker, the mantis shrimp is a scientific marvel. What if we told you the mantis shrimp can actually help us detect cancer quicker and at home without the lengthy (and frightening) wait to hear back from your doctor? There is a research team from the University of Queensland in Australia that is working on developing a smartphone app based on the polarized light vision of the mantis shrimp.
As we noted before, mantis shrimp see much differently from humans. Mantis shrimp detect over 100,000 colors (more than 10x what humans can detect) by noting the differences in polarized light. Although there are cancer-spotting devices that use polarized light, they are big, bulk and expensive to run, that is why the team in Queensland set out to use consumer technology to help detect cancer in a more distributed and economical manner.
The University of Queensland researchers are well on their way with technology that could eventually find its way into a smartphone. Even better? They seem to work with the team having success with prototypes that have been able to spot cancerous cells in the brains of mice.
This is exciting to detect cancer early, and for anyone who has had to wait for results from a doctor, it can help eliminate that gnawing and long time between the test and when you get the results. But we are also wary in the case of false positive test results and the potential unnecessary panic it could cause. Either way, this is an exciting advancement.