We present a method for the development of paper-based electrochemical sensors for detection of heavy metals in water samples. Contaminated water leads to serious health problems and environmental issues. Paper is ideally suited for point-of-care testing, as it is low cost, disposable, and multi-functional. Initial sensor designs were manufactured on paper substrates using combinations of inkjet printing and screen printing technologies using silver and carbon inks. Bismuth onion-like carbon nanoparticle ink was manufactured and used as the active material of the sensor for both commercial and paper-based sensors, which were compared using standard electrochemical analysis techniques. The results highlight the potential of paper-based sensors to be used effectively for rapid water quality monitoring at the point-of-need.
We present an ultra-high frequency radio frequency identification based wireless communication set-up for paper-based
point-of-care diagnostic applications, based on a sensing radio frequency identification chip. Paper provides a low-cost,
disposable platform for ease of fluidic handling without bulky instrumentation, and is thus ideally suited for point-ofcare
applications; however, result communication – a crucial aspect for healthcare to be implemented effectively – is still
lacking. Printing of radio frequency identification antennas and electronic circuitry for sensing on paper are presented,
with read out of the results using a radio frequency identification reader illustrated, demonstrating the feasibility of
developing integrated, all-printed solutions for point-of-care diagnosis in resource-limited settings.
Lab-on-a-chip devices are often applied to point-of-care diagnostic solutions as they are low-cost, compact, disposable, and require only small sample volumes. For such devices, various reagents are required for sample preparation and analysis and, for an integrated solution to be realized, on-chip reagent storage and automated introduction are required. This work describes the implementation and characterization of effective liquid reagent storage and release mechanisms utilizing blister pouches applied to various point-of-care diagnostic device applications. The manufacturing aspects as well as performance parameters are evaluated.
We present a visualization pipeline from sample to answer for point-of-care blood cell counting applications. Effective and low-cost point-of-care medical diagnostic tests provide developing countries and rural communities with accessible healthcare solutions , and can be particularly beneficial for blood cell count tests, which are often the starting point in the process of diagnosing a patient . The initial focus of this work is on total white and red blood cell counts, using a microfluidic cartridge  for sample processing. Analysis of the processed samples has been implemented by means of two main optical visualization systems developed in-house: 1) a fluidic operation analysis system using high speed video data to determine volumes, mixing efficiency and flow rates, and 2) a microscopy analysis system to investigate homogeneity and concentration of blood cells. Fluidic parameters were derived from the optical flow  as well as color-based segmentation of the different fluids using a hue-saturation-value (HSV) color space. Cell count estimates were obtained using automated microscopy analysis and were compared to a widely accepted manual method for cell counting using a hemocytometer . The results using the first iteration microfluidic device  showed that the most simple – and thus low-cost – approach for microfluidic component implementation was not adequate as compared to techniques based on manual cell counting principles. An improved microfluidic design has been developed to incorporate enhanced mixing and metering components, which together with this work provides the foundation on which to successfully implement automated, rapid and low-cost blood cell counting tests.
There is an inherent trade-off between cost and operational integrity of microfluidic components, especially when intended for use in point-of-care devices. We present an analysis system developed to characterise microfluidic components for performing blood cell counting, enabling the balance between function and cost to be established quantitatively. Microfluidic components for sample and reagent introduction, mixing and dispensing of fluids were investigated. A simple inlet port plugging mechanism is used to introduce and dispense a sample of blood, while a reagent is released into the microfluidic system through compression and bursting of a blister pack. Mixing and dispensing of the sample and reagent are facilitated via air actuation. For these microfluidic components to be implemented successfully, a number of aspects need to be characterised for development of an integrated point-of-care device design. The functional components were measured using a microfluidic component analysis system established in-house. Experiments were carried out to determine: 1. the force and speed requirements for sample inlet port plugging and blister pack compression and release using two linear actuators and load cells for plugging the inlet port, compressing the blister pack, and subsequently measuring the resulting forces exerted, 2. the accuracy and repeatability of total volumes of sample and reagent dispensed, and 3. the degree of mixing and dispensing uniformity of the sample and reagent for cell counting analysis. A programmable syringe pump was used for air actuation to facilitate mixing and dispensing of the sample and reagent. Two high speed cameras formed part of the analysis system and allowed for visualisation of the fluidic operations within the microfluidic device. Additional quantitative measures such as microscopy were also used to assess mixing and dilution accuracy, as well as uniformity of fluid dispensing - all of which are important requirements towards the successful implementation of a blood cell counting system.