One small drop of blood is dropped into a small receptacle, where nanostrips and reagents react to the blood’s contents. The whole cocktail then goes through a spiral micro-mixer and is streamed past lasers that use variations in light intensity and scattering to come up with a diagnosis, from flu to a more serious illness such as pneumonia or even Ebola within a few minutes. There’s also a vitals patch that users can wear to get continuous health readings EKG, heart rate, body temperature delivered to their smartphone or the rHEALTH device itself via a Bluetooth link. An app called CHAS (Comprehensive Health Assessment Unit) can walk the user through the process of self-diagnosis.
The real innovation of rHEALTH, according to Chan, is in getting all the diagnostics technologies packed together into one handheld device. By shrinking its components so much compared to traditional devices, Chan says, patients will need to give 1,500 times less blood than they would for regular tests. Since it was originally developed for NASA, the device has even been tested in simulated lunar and zero gravity.
This Device Diagnoses Hundreds of Diseases Using a Single Drop of Blood