The requirement was to develop a point of care system for rapid diagnosis of thyroid related diseases using whole blood. Maddison was selected as the prime development partner for both the reader and disposable cartridge based on Vivacta’s core piezofilm Intellectual Property. The disposable cartridge was also to act as the blood collection device for ease of use after a finger prick. The system had to be quick, reliable, portable and easy to use.
Early Usability and Concept Work
We started with generating early concepts for both the reader and cartridge and also storyboarding the potential clinical workflow. Using these tools, we then conducted usability studies with Vivacta and potential users in the target environments to get their feedback on how it could fit in with the workflow and about key aspects of the design and physical handling. Important factors in the cartridge design included an easy way to use capillary action to draw in the blood from the finger, an intuitive way to handle it, insert it into the reader and to avoid finger marks on the sensing window.
Detailed Engineering and Testing Work
Maddison then worked on the detailed mechanics of the reader including the loading system and optics, working closely with the Vivactor scientists. We developed the disposable cartridge microfuidics and manufacturing processes to ensure repeatability with a low unit cost. We also designed the layout and graphics for the touch screen user interface so that it could be used by a range of people from experienced operators to occasional users in an intuitive way.