FourDartmouth College (Hanover, NH, USA) engineering undergraduates have developed a smart phone application and sweat collection device that allows for early disease detection.
Their so-called DiagnosMe system identifies proteins within a person’s sweat through the color change of an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay biosensor in a process called densitometry. It is designed to catch anything from Alzheimer’s to Type 2 diabetes in the early stages of progression.
DiagnosMe consists of a sweat collection device, the biosensor, and an iPhone application. The sweat collection device consists of a very small clip that is worn by the user during exercise. Sweat is collected through a sponge-like mechanism and enters a chamber where a test strip containing the biosensor is placed.
The sweat incubates on the strip during the workout. This produces a colorimetric change that is directly proportional to the concentration of the biomolecule of interest in the sample.
The strip containing the biosensor is analyzed using the smartphone application. The user simply takes an image of the biosensor with the smartphone camera after the test has been conducted and the application then uses image densitometry to analyze the colorimetric change.
The application correlates the colorimetric change to an approximate biomarker concentration value. The value can be reported to the user, tracked over time, and even used to provide a recommendation to see a doctor.
Students Riley Ennis, Rob Lauzen, Katherine Franklin and Kiah Williams developed the system and have now formed a company called DiagnosMe that is looking to acquire funds for product development and manufacturing.
While other apps such as Fitbit or Jawbone's UP already monitor vitals, DiagnosMe would be the first to give users direct information from their immune systems on a biological level.
The developers' long term goals are to make DiagnosMe specific to individual illnesses, starting with breast cancer.
The image above shows system developers Katherine Franklin and Riley Ennis at the New York Stock Exchange.
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-- Dave Wilson, Senior Editor,Vision Systems Design