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E - Miniature Digital Reader

Miniature Digital Reader for US Army Hydration Sensor


Sponsor: Gaia Medical Institute, La Jolla CA 92037

Mentor:   Dr. Sarka Southern,  Mr. Gerry Lilienthal

Student Advisor: Dominic Fong

Contact:  Dr. Sarka Southern, , Office: 858-459-1722

                Mr. Gerry Lilienthal,, Office: 858-459-1722


A rapid dehydration test is urgently needed by the US Army and by the civilian market. Over 10 billion dollars can be saved annually in the USA by the availability of a field dehydration test. A new molecular technology for hydration monitoring was recently developed by our company. The new technology is noninvasive (a saliva test) and will be realized through a rapid, hand-held test.

The dehydration test device is composed of three elements: Saliva module, Cartridge and Reader. The Reader illuminates the test strip, reads the fluorescent labels on dehydration biomarkers, processes the information and displays the result digitally.

Project Objective

This project will build on the work conducted by the ECE191 hardware and software teams during winter and spring quarter, 2014. The previous teams have built a breadboard fluorescence reader prototype that employs a Texas Instruments MSP430 series microcontroller with several hardware peripherals, including Bluetooth, flash memory, color display and custom analog circuitries.

The ECE team will perform the role as a hardware testing engineer. They will evaluate the existing design, propose an improved design and produce a second-generation prototype of the fluorescence reader. Basic understanding of photodiode, amplifiers, filters and embedded systems will be advantageous.