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Diagnostics 2016, 6(2), 19; doi:10.3390/diagnostics6020019

Improving the Sensitivity and Functionality of Mobile Webcam-Based Fluorescence Detectors for Point-of-Care Diagnostics in Global Health

1
Western Regional Research Center, Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Albany, CA 94706, USA
2
Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Maryland College Park (UMCP), College Park, MD 20742, USA
3
Division of Chemistry and Toxicology Devices, Office of In Vitro Diagnostics and Radiological Health, FDA, Silver Spring, MD 20993, USA
4
National Cancer Institute, Rockville, MD 208503, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Aydogan Ozcan
Received: 2 February 2016 / Revised: 19 April 2016 / Accepted: 6 May 2016 / Published: 17 May 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mobile Diagnosis)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [5862 KB, uploaded 17 May 2016]   |  

Abstract

Resource-poor countries and regions require effective, low-cost diagnostic devices for accurate identification and diagnosis of health conditions. Optical detection technologies used for many types of biological and clinical analysis can play a significant role in addressing this need, but must be sufficiently affordable and portable for use in global health settings. Most current clinical optical imaging technologies are accurate and sensitive, but also expensive and difficult to adapt for use in these settings. These challenges can be mitigated by taking advantage of affordable consumer electronics mobile devices such as webcams, mobile phones, charge-coupled device (CCD) cameras, lasers, and LEDs. Low-cost, portable multi-wavelength fluorescence plate readers have been developed for many applications including detection of microbial toxins such as C. Botulinum A neurotoxin, Shiga toxin, and S. aureus enterotoxin B (SEB), and flow cytometry has been used to detect very low cell concentrations. However, the relatively low sensitivities of these devices limit their clinical utility. We have developed several approaches to improve their sensitivity presented here for webcam based fluorescence detectors, including (1) image stacking to improve signal-to-noise ratios; (2) lasers to enable fluorescence excitation for flow cytometry; and (3) streak imaging to capture the trajectory of a single cell, enabling imaging sensors with high noise levels to detect rare cell events. These approaches can also help to overcome some of the limitations of other low-cost optical detection technologies such as CCD or phone-based detectors (like high noise levels or low sensitivities), and provide for their use in low-cost medical diagnostics in resource-poor settings. View Full-Text
Keywords: webcams; CCD cameras; mobile phones; fluorescence imaging; flow cytometry; rare cells; resource-poor settings; image enhancement; background subtraction; pixel binning; global health webcams; CCD cameras; mobile phones; fluorescence imaging; flow cytometry; rare cells; resource-poor settings; image enhancement; background subtraction; pixel binning; global health
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Rasooly, R.; Bruck, H.A.; Balsam, J.; Prickril, B.; Ossandon, M.; Rasooly, A. Improving the Sensitivity and Functionality of Mobile Webcam-Based Fluorescence Detectors for Point-of-Care Diagnostics in Global Health. Diagnostics 2016, 6, 19.

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