Portable Medical Diagnosis Instrument

Portable Medical Diagnosis Instrument (TOP2-246)
Compact In-Flight Medical Diagnostic Technology for Deep-Space Missions
NASA has developed a novel technology strategy called "The NASA Analyzer" that would provide comprehensive in-flight medical diagnostic capability in a compact, hand-held device for human deep-space missions such as Mars. Key features of the technology include the ability to handle multiple sample types (breath, saliva, blood), and the ability to measure virtually any analyte, including future analytes as they emerge. The device provides both non-invasive and minimally invasive sampling capabilities, which will be required during long-duration exploration missions. Breath and saliva are fully non-invasive and can provide critical health assessment information very rapidly. From small blood samples, information about macromolecular analytes as well as blood cell counts can be obtained. The device consists of four cutting-edge technologies integrated into a single compact medical diagnostic tool with wireless (e.g., smart phone) capability. In addition to space applications, this innovative technology will very likely have important spin-offs in medicine and public health on Earth.

The Technology
The technology utilizes four cutting-edge sensor technologies to enable minimally- or non-invasive analysis of various biological samples, including saliva, breath, and blood. The combination of technologies and sample pathways have unique advantages that collectively provides a powerful analytical capability. The four key technology components include the following: (1) the carbon nanotube (CNT) array designed for the detection of volatile molecules in exhaled breath; (2) a breath condenser surface to isolate nonvolatile breath compounds in exhaled breath; (3) the miniaturized differential mobility spectrometer (DMS) -like device for the detection of volatile and non-volatile molecules in condensed breath and saliva; and (4) the miniaturized circular disk (CD)-based centrifugal microfluidics device that can detect analytes in any liquid sample as well as perform blood cell counts. As an integrated system, the device has two ports for sample entry a mouthpiece for sampling of breath and a port for CD insertion. The breath analysis pathway consists of a CNT array followed by a condenser surface separating liquid and gas phase breath. The exhaled breath condensate is then analyzed via a DMS-like device and the separated gas breath can be analyzed by both CNT sensor array again and by DMS detectors.
                             Examples of Concept Devices
  • User-friendly, compact design, versatile, and hand-held device
  • Graphical User Interface for data distillation, visualization, and overall system control to occur remotely
  • Phone-sensor device possesses high sensitivity (parts-per-billion/parts per million), fast response time (seconds), high selectivity, both wireless and wired capabilities, and low power system
  • DMS-type device provides analyte separation based on differences in ion mobility at high and low electric fields
  • Centrifugal analyzer is a low-power, portable, has high analytical sensitivity and easy to use device for carrying out multiple immunoassays and cell-based analyses
  • Non-invasive and minimal invasive specimens and does not require sample preparation prior to loading sample into the device
  • Operates in real-time and generates multi-dimentional signals
  • Software can be tailored to identify biomarkers of interest without the requirement of hardware modification
  • Sensor can be "refreshed" for continuous use

  • Space missions
  • Health care industry
  • Homeland security
  • Field-testing and clinical diagnostics
  • Military and disaster response
  • Remote/harsh environments
Technology Details


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