The rHEALTH Sensor
A unique collaboration between NASA’s Glenn Research Center and the DNA Medicine Institute (DMI) has produced a reusable microfluidic device that performs rapid, low-cost cell counts and measurements of electrolytes, proteins, and other biomarkers. The reusable Handheld Electrolyte and Lab Technology for Humans (rHEALTH) sensor is a compact portable device that employs cutting-edge fluorescence detection optics, innovative microfluidics, and nanostrip reagents to perform a suite of hematology, chemistry, and biomarker assays from a single drop of blood or body fluid. Developed to monitor astronaut health on the International Space Station (ISS) and during long-term space flight, terrestrial applications for this groundbreaking technology include point-of-care (POC) diagnostics at a patient’s bedside, in a doctor’s office, or in a hospital. This revolutionary micro-scale lab analysis tool was developed with funding from NASA’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program.
- Efficient flow-based detection technology allows a range of samples to be counted, analyzed, and measured.
- The use of reusable microfluidics reduces device mass and volume, enabling a handheld portable device (8 x 4 x 0.5 in) that does not rely on single-use disposable components.
- This revolutionary technology is expected to contribute significantly to the evolving needs of space medicine, biomedical research, POC diagnostics, and environmental monitoring.
- Sustained and reliable performance will result in a multi-year lifetime in a low-gravity environment characterized by radiation, low humidity, and lack of refrigeration.
- Innovative use of nanostrip reagents will enable massive multiplexing that has the potential to allow hundreds of measurements from a single session.
Gearing Up for Commercialization
DMI plans to commercialize the rHEALTH sensor, and is working to form a partnership with a diagnostics firm. Potential applications include biomedical research, POC diagnostics, and health monitoring in clinical settings.
For more information, contact the Office of Technology Partnerships and Planning, NASA Glenn Research Center, at 216-433-3484 or TTP@grc.nasa.gov.