The role of point-of-care (POC) diagnostics is important in public health. With the support of smartphones, POC diagnostic technologies can be greatly improved. This opportunity has arisen from not only the large number and fast spread of cell-phones across the world but also their improved imaging/diagnostic functions. As a tool, the smartphone is regarded as part of a compact, portable, and low-cost system for real-time POC, even in areas with few resources. By combining near-infrared (NIR) imaging, measurement, and spectroscopy techniques, pathogens can be detected with high sensitivity. The whole process is rapid, accurate, and low-cost, and will set the future trend for POC diagnostics. In this review, the development of smartphone-based NIR fluorescent imaging technology was described, and the quality and potential of POC applications were discussed.
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