This paper presents a battery powered 8-bit tonal resolution colorimetric sensor circuit for paper microfluidic assays using low cost photo-detection circuitry and a low-power LED light source. A colorimetric 3×3-pixel array reader was developed for rural environments where resources and personnel are limited. The device sports an ultralow-power E-ink paper display. The colorimetric device includes integrated GPS functionality and EEPROM memory to log measurements with geo-tags for possible analysis of regional trends.
The device competes with colour intensity measurement techniques using smartphone cameras, but proves to be a cheaper solution, compensating for the typical performance variations between cameras of different brands of smartphones. Inexpensive methods for quantifying bacterial assays have been shown using desktop scanners, which are not portable, and cameras, which suffer severely from changes in ambient light in different environments. Promising colorimetric detection results have been demonstrated using devices such as video cameras5, digital colour analysers6, flatbed scanners7 or custom portable readers8. The major drawback of most of these methods is the need for specialized instrumentation and for image analysis on a computer.