Evolvable Smartphone-Based Point-of-Care Systems For In-Vitro Diagnostics

Research output: Book/ReportPh.D. thesis – Annual report year: 2016Research

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Recent developments in the life-science -omics disciplines, together with advances in micro- and nanoscale technologies offer unprecedented opportunities to tackle some of the major healthcare challenges of our time. Lab-on-Chip technologies coupled with smart-devices in particular, constitute key enablers for the decentralization of many in-vitro medical diagnostics applications to the point-of-care, supporting the advent of a preventive and personalized medicine.
Although the technical feasibility and the potential of Lab-on-Chip/smart-device systems is repeatedly demonstrated, direct-to-consumer applications remain scarce. This thesis addresses this limitation. After identifying system evolvability as a key enabler to the adoption and long-lasting success of next-generation point-of-care systems by favoring the integration of new technologies, streamlining the reengineering efforts for system upgrades and limiting the risk of premature system obsolescence. Among possible strategies, platform-based design represents a particularly suitable entry point to the development of evolvable systems. One necessary condition, is for change-absorbing and change-enabling mechanisms to be incorporated in the platform architecture at initial design-time. Important considerations arise as to where in Lab-on-Chip/smart-device platforms can these mechanisms be integrated, and how to implement them.
Our investigation revolves around the silicon-nanowire biological field effect transistor, a promising biosensing technology for the detection of biological analytes at ultra low concentrations. We discuss extensively the sensitivity and instrumentation requirements set by the technology before we present the design and implementation of an evolvable smartphone-based platform capable of interfacing lab-on-chips embedding such sensors. We elaborate on the implementation of various architectural patterns throughout the platform and present how these facilitated the evolution of the system towards one accommodating for electrochemical sensing. Model-based development was undertaken throughout the engineering process. A formal SysML system model fed our evolvability assessment process. We introduce, in particular, a model-based methodology enabling the evaluation of modular scalability: the ability of a system to scale the current value of one of its specification by successively reengineering targeted system modules.
The research work presented in this thesis provides a roadmap for the development of evolvable point-of-care systems, including those targeting direct-to-consumer applications. It extends from the early identification of anticipated change, to the assessment of the ability of a system to accommodate for these changes. Our research should thus interest industrials eager not only to disrupt, but also to last in a shifting socio-technical paradigm.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherDTU Nanotech
Number of pages190
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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