New smartphone device performs blood tests

Teresa Tanoos's picture
Smartphone device can perform blood test.

Diagnostic tool performs blood test via smartphone screens.

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A new smartphone device has been created that performs blood tests to improve the quality of life for patients undergoing anticoagulant therapy, a treatment for thinning the blood to prevent blood clots that can raise the risk of heart attack and stroke.

One drawback to anticoagulant therapy, however, is that patients have to go to the hospital to have their blood flow monitored frequently. And if the wrong dosage of anticoagulants is taken by the patient, the treatment can be more harmful than helpful by causing additional cardiovascular complications.

Accordingly, a team of researchers in Switzerland set out to develop a new smartphone device to enable patients being treated with anticoagulant therapy to monitor themselves, rather than have to frequently go to the hospital for blood monitoring.

Researchers from Qloudlab, a Switzerland-based company with a micro-engineering laboratory, created the device by attaching a small, single-use film consisting of micro-structured plastic to the screen of a smartphone.

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After blood goes through the film, the device can detect the presence of a molecule that activates the coagulation process involved in the formation of blood clots.

Next, the smartphone analyzes and interprets the results from electrical field disruptions on the surface of the phone’s screen, not unlike how touching an icon on a smartphone screen with your finger opens up an app.

With this device, however, the results are sent to a special app that Qloudlab also developed. The results can also be sent to a physician so that they can determine if a patient needs to have their anticoagulant therapy adjusted.

A patent for this new smartphone device has recently been applied for by Qloudlab. In addition, researchers who developed it were recently given funds to hire another biochemist so the team can hopefully get the device ready for marketing once they confirm the blood test is as accurate as one performed in a laboratory.

SOURCE: École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, News Release: Test Your Blood with the Screen of a Cellphone, March 17, 2014.

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