Researchers from UCLA’s Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science have created a Google Glass application and server platform that lets Glass users analyze point-of-care diagnostic tests targeted at a wide range of diseases and health conditions.
The researchers say the technology has the potential to enhance the tracking of dangerous diseases and improve public health monitoring and rapid responses in disaster-relief areas or quarantine zones. The system relies on the use of rapid diagnostic tests (RDT) in which blood or fluid samples are placed on small strips that change color to indicate the presence of a range of diseases and conditions.
Tests that can utilize this type of technology include HIV, malaria, and prostate cancer. Using Glass, the user captures an image of the test result. Once the image is caught by Glass, it is uploaded to a UCLA-designed server platform which relays accurate analysis of the RDT in less than eight seconds. The technology also works with commonly available in-home tests.
The technology allows for quantified reading of results to a few parts-per-billion of sensitivity. This is much greater than the human eye can see, therefore eliminating the potential of human error in results.
Aydogan Ozcan, principal investigator and the Chancellor’s Professor of Electrical Engineering and Bioengineering at UCLA and associate director of UCLA’s California NanoSystems Institute commented on the technology,
This breakthrough technology takes advantage of gains in both immunochromatographic rapid diagnostic tests and wearable computers. This smart app allows for real-time tracking of health conditions and could be quite valuable in epidemiology, mobile health, and telemedicine.
The server is capable of processing fast and high throughput evaluations of incoming RDT images coming from multiple devices simultaneously. A web portal where results can be viewed was also created. Maps charting the geographical spread of diseases and conditions and the cumulative data of all tests submitted over a period of time can be viewed through the web portal as well.
The researchers tested the technology on in-home HIV tests designed by OraSure Technologies and a prostate-specific antigen test from JAJ International. Images were taken under different conditions of light. Out of 400 tests submitted, the RDT reader was able to read 99.6%. Every test result read was accurate and quantified according to the researchers. Additionally, over 300 blurry images or images of the testing device taken under various natural-usage scenarios were successfully read 96.6% of the time.