Designing a cost-effective automatic rapid diagnostics test reader

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A team of 3ME students developed during their Bachelor End Project a digital reader for rapid diagnostic tests. This proof of principle will be further developed under WP 1.

Abstract: Rapid diagnostic test (RDT)-readers can be useful tools in removing human error in reading test results. A drawback in current designs are high cost and/or the need of additional hardware and software modifications to be used correctly. In this paper we design a cost-effective (<C30), lightweight (<270 grams) rapid diagnostic test (RDT)-reader with pocket-sized dimensions. Using a simple combination of a camera, Raspberry Pi and an electronic circuit, the reader captures an image of an RDT. During image processing, the RDT is classified as either positive, negative, or invalid as well as given an intensity rating which provides useful information that may be used in the treatment of a disease. Contrary to existing RDT-readers which process images in grayscale, color information is used to improve sensitivity on low-intensity lines and decrease false readings due to noise susceptibility.
During the design phase of the hardware as well as the software, experienced field workers and RDT-experts from Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC) were consulted to maximise the impact and usefulness of the device.