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Google Glass and Rapid Diagnostic Testing

A good deal of diagnostic tests are easy to perform but require a trained eye to interpret the results. Particularly with lateral flow assays, most famously used in at-home pregnancy test strips, simply knowing which lines mean what for different tests can require significant training and memorization. But cameras and computers can help automate that process and Google Glass has both, and in a convenient form.

A study just published in ACS Nano discusses the development of a Google Glass app that lets a clinician simply look at the lines on a test strip and receive back the correct interpretation within seconds. The app is voice controlled and provides both yes/no, as well as quantitative results depending on the test. The strips are marked with individual QR codes to identify which test is being performed and the app is supported by a server that actually analyzes the images and sends results back to Google Glass.

Holomic to Use Google Glass for Real-Time Diagnosis

A follow up to the ACS Nano paper is an announcement that Holomic is launching a Google Glass Platform for the measurement of rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) and lateral flow immunoassays. Developed at the research lab of Professor Aydogan Ozcan at UCLA and licensed by Holomic, the Glass Platform is the first Glass diagnostic application to read RDTs for the real-time diagnosis and tracking of various diseases and health conditions.

Rapid diagnostic tests are widely used globally as a cost effective and quick method of diagnosing health conditions. They test for a variety of conditions including HIV, malaria, diabetes, thyroid, cardiac and other chronic and acute indications. Their accuracy and reliability can be significantly improved with digital readers, however, these tend to be expensive and bulky. Holomic introduced a cost-effective smartphone-based reader (HRDR-200) in 2013, and is currently delivering this quantitative reader for the accurate reading of rapid tests and connectivity with Electronic Health Records. With the Google Glass Platform, Holomic continues to lead in innovating technologies for point-of-care diagnostics.

The Google Glass Platform includes a custom-developed Glass Application software downloadable from the Google Glass server to your Glass. It is intended for use with RDT cassettes marked with QR code identifiers in well lit ambiances and no other hardware is required. It works like this: the Glass user looks at the RDT and with a voice command leads the Glass to acquire the RDT image with its camera and to transmit it to the Holomic Cloud-Server for rapid post-image processing. The server can be accessed from anywhere using a web browser to see a dynamic spatio-temporal map and real-time statistics of uploaded test results. Professor Ozcan and his team have tested the system with RDTs for HIV and PSA and have obtained outstanding results.

Google's Glass is still in beta and available only to a limited number of users. Likewise, Holomic’s Glass Platform (Glass Application and Holomic Cloud-Server) will initially be available only to a limited number of researchers at universities and rapid test development organizations. Holomic's objective is to collaborate with Google, the Ozcan Research Lab at UCLA (see below), and the user community to further advance this promising platform for improved healthcare.

Ozcan Research Lab at UCLA Uses Google Glass to Track Dangerous Diseases

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.

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