Portable Microfluidic Device Detects Dengue in Minutes

dengue-fever-detectorDengue fever can be difficult to differentiate from other viral diseases early in its progression. It’s typically diagnosed based on symptoms, but researchers at Singapore’s A*STAR research agency have created a field detector that spots the dengue virus from a drop of saliva.

Not only can it detect the virus, but it’s able to pinpoint whether it’s a secondary infection that often causes dengue hemorrhagic fever or dengue shock syndrome. The test takes about 20 minutes to run and the kit doesn’t require much training to operate.

Within the device are a bunch of channels that move the saliva sample and reagents that prepare it for final mixing with antibody coupled nanoparticles.

Some details about the design of the microfluidic system, according to A*STAR:

As described in the journal Lab on a Chip, the IBN researchers used an innovative stacking flow design to overcome key challenges faced by existing lateral flow designs, such as those used in pregnancy test kits.

In IBN’s device, different flow paths are created for samples and reagents through a multiple stacked system. This allows the saliva sample to flow separately through a fiber glass matrix, which removes the substances that would interfere with the nanoparticle-based sensing system before it mixes with the sensor nanoparticles. IBN’s device configuration also helps to regulate the flow in the test strip, generating uniform test lines for more accurate results.

Study in Lab on a Chip: A stacking flow immunoassay for the detection of dengue-specific immunoglobulins in salivary fluid…

Press release: Made-in-Singapore Rapid Test Kit Detects Dengue Antibodies from Saliva…

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Skin Patch Generates Electricity to Energize Implants, Wearables


As the capabilities of implants and wearables have been expanding at a rapid pace, the batteries that power them have not kept up in progress. Case in point are reports that the Apple Watch will have enough battery power for only a few hours of active use. Now a new patch created at the National University of Singapore provides electrical power just from the slight motion of the skin.

The device takes advantage of the triboelectric effect, a common way that static electricity is produced. In essence, when materials with different characteristics are brought into contact and then pulled apart, an electric charge is built up. In the case of the new generator, one of the material layers is skin while the other is a silicon rubber with a bunch of tiny pins sticking out. The pins create a lot of contact with the skin as opposed to using a flat material, providing the necessary friction that makes electrons jump from the skin to the gold electrode layer under the pins.

In a proof-of-concept experiment, the researchers attached the sensor to the throat and forearm of a volunteer subject and were able to produce 7.5V and 7.3V respectively. Besides being a power generator, the patch may also work as a sensor that detects muscle activity and motion, among other parameters.

IEEE Spectrum: Skin-Based Generators Scavenge Muscle Motion to Power Wearables…

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MonBaby Button Actively Monitors Baby’s Breathing, Movement, Sleep Position


Today’s audio and video baby monitors provide some degree of reassurance to parents, but typically these devices don’t have any smarts to them and are simply antennas that transmit pictures and sound from one room to another. A new smart product expected to be released soon puts together a great deal of technology to offer active monitoring of children.

MonBaby-appThe MonBaby is shaped like a large button that can be snapped onto a kid’s clothing. Within it are sensors that detect the child’s breathing, movement, and sleep position. This data is automatically sent over to a paired iOS or Android app where it can be analyzed and where alarms will also appear if breathing stops, the child is moving too much, or if she flipped onto her tummy. Additionally, parents with freewheeling kids will be happy to know that the MonBaby button will let you know if your baby fell out of the crib.

The device can be preordered for $169 at Monbaby.com.

Here’s a video showing off the various features of the MonBaby:


Product page: MonBaby…

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Common Bile Duct Measurements: Not very useful for emergency physicians

Editors note:

Lloyd has provided several great biliary scans to the blog and in his previous CBD related post talked about how an incidental finding of dilated CBD helped guide him towards diagnosing a patient with pancreatic cancer.  While all of us at the EDE blog are POCUS enthusiasts, we must acknowledge that there is growing evidence to support some applications over others.  I think it’s important to provide a balanced perspective on the usefulness of CBD imaging in general for emergency physicians, especially for the novice.

At our courses we de-emphasize beginners trying to visualize the CBD for several reasons:

1. Developing competence at gallbladder imaging requires a fair amount of practice and adding the CBD significantly increases the time commitment at the bedside.

2. Unlike the gallbladder, emergency physicians don’t do a great job at accurately measuring the CBD.  So incorporating this data point into clinical decision making is problematic.

3. CBD measurements don’t make a big difference to our acute management of biliary colic in the emergency department.

So why load the novice with the work of learning a scan that has questionable accuracy and usefulness at the bedside, particularly when they must expend significant effort just learning to generate gallbladder scans?

As the study below demonstrates, it’s currently a low yield exercise perhaps better left to the very experienced POCUS practitioner or radiologist.

J Emerg Med Jan 2014 Emergency biliary sonography: utility of common bile duct measurement in the diagnosis of cholecystitis and choledocholithiasis.


Lloyd has a nice example of how easy it can be to see dilated CBD’s but as he demonstrates with his next case, it didn’t impact management.


Just to show that you can see the CBD without too much trouble, especially if it’s dilated. In this case it was just post-cholecystectomy. No pathology.


Wishbone Touch-Free Smartphone Connected Thermometer (VIDEO)


New smart connected thermometers have been coming to market lately, allowing parents to easily record temperature readings and helping to track fevers with ease. Now a new thermometer that works with iOS and Android phones is making a splash as the smallest non-contact thermometer to be made available. The Wishbone from JoyWing Tech (NY, NY) plugs into the smartphone’s audio jack, passing the readings automatically to the accompanying app.

The device has two nearly identical horns, one of which is the actual thermometer tip that’s placed 3-5 cm near the patient’s forehead and the other is a battery holder. The device takes readings in under two seconds thanks to the infrared sensor in one of the tips and the shape of the device makes it comfortable to place the thermometer properly while still seeing the phone’s screen.

The app allows you to create different profiles so that temperature readings of different family members can be tracked without mixing with readings from others. JoyWing is currently raising funds via Kickstarter to begin producing the Wishbone and you can still pre-order one for $33 via Kickstarter with shipping promised for April.

Here’s a promo video for the Wishbone:


Kickstarger campaign: Wishbone: The World’s Smallest Smart Thermometer…

(hat tip: Engadget)

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eSight, Digital Eyewear to Allow the Legally Blind to See (VIDEO)

A video posted about a week ago showing a legally blind woman seeing her child for the first time recently went viral. This touching story is due to a new device called the eSight. The eSight is essentially an electronic system that is comprised of a headset, custom prescribed lenses, and a controller. An HD camera on the headset takes in live video from the environment and sends the data to the controller which then processes the images and displays them on small organic-LED displays. Furthermore, the device offers many features including contrast adjustment, zooming, reverse color display, etc., which allows users to have more control over what they are seeing.

Although this technology is still very expensive with a price tag of $15,000, the company works hard to raise funds for those that cannot afford this technology. Also, the company is still developing this technology to try and lower the cost and improve the aesthetics of this wearable device.

From eSight:

Our clients say that the effects are remarkable: blind spots disappear, faces that haven’t been seen in years snap into focus, books and other entertainment are suddenly accessible and complete freedom of movement is returned.


Link: eSight Website…

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