One of the main limitations of traditional microfluidic diagnostic devices is their reliance on an external reader for moving fluids and giving a result. External readers can be expensive, break easily, and be lost or stolen, rendering the diagnostic cards useless. Our patterned paper-based diagnostic technology platform was designed specifically to avoid these issues by automatically wicking fluid and producing a colorimetric result that can be interpreted by eye. While our platform allows us to create visually semi-quantitative diagnostics, such as our liver function test, sometimes a more quantitative result is preferred.
In order to provide a quantitative result without requiring an external reader, we are leveraging the rapid expansion of mobile phones in the developing world. Today’s mobile phones contain image capture and processing capabilities that match what would be needed by an external reader, and, as they are now widespread even in rural areas of the developing world, they can be enabled to give quantitative results without the need to purchase an external reader. See DFA's collaboration with Cambridge Consultants.