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Infertility Diagnosis Comes to Your iPad with Microfluidic Chip

Sperm fertility analyzer with iPad (Image from aidmics

It’s certainly no secret that the movement of medtech out of hospitals and doctors’ offices and into the homes of people is a major trend in the industry. Offering cost savings and convenience, medical device manufacturers seem to be attempting to get as many different types of products and technologies into the house for consumer use, seeing it as an opportunity to increase revenues and enhance the level of healthcare that can be provided effectively in the home.

One of the sectors that seems to reflect this trend with more gusto than others is that of diagnostic technologies. Having FDA approval to put a diagnostic test in the home and sell it at the local pharmacy much in the same way as home pregnancy tests is a fantastic option for consumers as well as a great revenue source for the medical device OEM.

Going a step further in the realm of diagnostic technology is the leveraging of consumer devices such as smartphones and tablets, using the computing power these types of devices are capable of offering, and providing a laboratory-like analysis. These types of devices are being introduced at more of the maker level for now, but it won’t be long before diagnostics that were only occurring in a lab with advanced equipment will be possible in our living rooms.

This type of next generation home diagnostic technology is exactly what a Taiwanese start-up company is attempting to get through the FDA. Aidmics — the name of the fledgling firm — has developed a do-it-yourself home fertility test system that enables men to get an analysis of their sperm. Called the iSperm, the solution couples with an iPad mini via an optimized optical lens and diagnostic testing supplies. 


Quantitative microfluidic chips, microstructure-enhanced volume quantification facilitates precise semen sampling (Image Credit: Aidmics

Aidmics founder Agean Lin told Reuters in a news story about the technology that one in every six couples in the U.S. has trouble conceiving, making this system quite attractive to an array of people. While it doesn’t offer a cure for low sperm count or other potential problems, it could be used as a measure for lifestyle changes that can make a difference. And since the kit is used in the home, a person could test as often as they desire without concern for whether their insurance will cover the lab analysis each time they would be otherwise tested at a doctor’s office. With a target price of $100 to $200 for the entire system, the price is considerably less than what the cost might be for even just one trip to the doctor.

Following is a video that illustrates exactly how the system is used and further explains the capabilities. Not sure if this solution could be adapted to provide for other diagnostic testing applications, but it’s fascinating to see just how far these solutions have come in such a short period of time.

Source: Medical Design Technology