Inexpensive telecytology solutions that use the Raspberry Pi and the iPhone

Radu Dudas, Christopher VandenBussche, Alex Baras, Syed Z. Ali, Matthew T. Olson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Introduction: There is currently substantial interest in dynamic telecytology-the presentation of microscopic findings by live video feed to a cytopathologist at a remote location. However, the initial costs of a telecytology system can be high. We present several low-cost alternatives along with their performance characteristics. Materials and methods: We tested 3 low-cost telecytology systems: a Raspberry Pi with a webcam, an iPhone 4S with FaceTime, and an iPhone 4S with a live streaming app. Costs, resolution capacities, and latency periods for image transmission were determined. Results: At $85.55, the Raspberry Pi system is the least expensive telecytology solution described to date. When the cost per megapixel of resolution is considered, the cost of a Raspberry Pi system is 120× less than the most expensive commercially available option and about 7-fold less than the iPhone-based alternatives. Latency periods were substantially lower for the iPhone systems: 2.5 ± 1 seconds for FaceTime and 2.8 ± 0.3 seconds for iPhone live streaming versus 6.6 ± 0.6 seconds for the Raspberry Pi system at comparable frame rates. Conclusions: This proof-of-principle study demonstrates that inexpensive telecytology systems are able to stream live video feeds of cytology slides from a microscope to a remote location at useable resolutions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)49-55
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the American Society of Cytopathology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014


  • Fine-needle aspiration
  • On-site evaluation of adequacy
  • Rapid on-site evaluation
  • Telecytology
  • Telecytopathology
  • Telemicroscopy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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