The association of smart mobile devices and lab-on-chip technologies offers unprecedented opportunities for the emergence of direct-to-consumer in vitro medical diagnostics applications. Despite their clear transformative potential, obstacles remain to the large-scale disruption and long-lasting success of these systems in the consumer market. For instance, the increasing level of complexity of instrumented lab-on-chip devices, coupled to the sporadic nature of point-of-care testing, threatens the viability of a business model mainly relying on disposable/consumable lab-on-chips. We argued recently that system evolvability, defined as the design characteristic that facilitates more manageable transitions between system generations via the modification of an inherited design, can help remedy these limitations. In this paper, we discuss how platform-based design can constitute a formal entry point to the design and implementation of evolvable smart device/lab-on-chip systems. We present both a hardware/software design framework and the implementation details of a platform prototype enabling at this stage the interfacing of several lab-on-chip variants relying on current- or impedance-based biosensors. Our findings suggest that several change-enabling mechanisms implemented in the higher abstraction software layers of the system can promote evolvability, together with the design of change-absorbing hardware/software interfaces. Our platform architecture is based on a mobile software application programming interface coupled to a modular hardware accessory. It allows the specification of lab-on-chip operation and post-analytic functions at the mobile software layer. We demonstrate its potential by operating a simple lab-on-chip to carry out the detection of dopamine using various electroanalytical methods.
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- System evolvability
- Platform-based design