This Smartphone-Connected Device Will One Day Quickly Detect Your STDs

A mobile DNA lab could one day cost the same as an electric razor.

The doctor suspects you have Lyme disease, but the time it would take to get blood-test results back from the lab might be time better spent taking antibiotics.

A suspicious powder shows up on the doorstep of a government office, and it needs to be identified immediately. A team of investigators is having a tough time determining a victim’s time of death at a crime scene. These are all possible future applications for Biomeme’s smartphone-connected mobile DNA lab.


Biomeme, a company that launched two years ago, has a 10-person team working out of Philadelphia on giving the capabilities of full molecular diagnostics central lab to anyone, according to co-founder Max Perelman. The company has created a mobile version of a real-time qPCR thermocycler, a fancy lab gadget that amplifies small amounts of DNA so they become more detectable (“Like a targeted photocopy machine for DNA,” says Perelman).

Putting those chunks of DNA through a PCR machine can detect specific things based on their DNA signature. Biomeme’s first internally developed test, for example, looks for the DNA signatures of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and trichomoniasis. “We can make a diagnosis in real-time on the phone,” says Perelman.

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