Friday, May 25, 2012

POC Diagnostics - A walk in the PARC

Hey everyone.. I’m back..!

It’s not as if stuff hasn’t been happening around here. Dusty blogs = all work less play. Yesterday I attended a very inspiring talk and I decided today I just have to take an hour off and summarize it here! 

It was Peter Keisel from the Palo Alto Research Center. PARC is an independent subsidiary of Xerox, and consists of about 170 researchers in 4 labs. This work on sophisticated point-of-care opto-fluidic detection from their opto-electronics group was super-exciting! I had been looking forward to meeting Peter Keisel and hearing more about his work. Finally everything came together at the N-Cal OSA meeting yesterday.
Diagnostics and testing of water, blood, and other samples often involves counting cells or particles of a certain type, defined by size, spectra or other characteristics. Equipment like flow cytometers are often used for such testing. But their size, cost and complexity limits their availability. Therefore, such testing is often conducted in dedicated labs and testing centers. Depending on the local infrastructure and perishable nature of the test sample, this costly and time consuming effort, sometimes may not even be possible. Hence development of compact, inexpensive and robust devices for point-of-care testing is a critical and active area of research. 

Peter discussed an opto-fluidic detection device developed by his team at PARC. The device contains...