UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Ultra-Portable Smartphone Controlled Integrated Digital Microfluidic System in a 3D-Printed Modular Assembly Yafia, Mohamed; Ahmadi, Ali; Hoorfar, Mina; Najjaran, Homayoun


Portable sensors and biomedical devices are influenced by the recent advances in microfluidics technologies, compact fabrication techniques, improved detection limits and enhanced analysis capabilities. This paper reports the development of an integrated ultraportable, low-cost, and modular digital microfluidic (DMF) system and its successful integration with a smartphone used as a high-level controller and post processing station. Low power and cost effective electronic circuits are designed to generate the high voltages required for DMF operations in both open and closed configurations (from 100 to 800 V). The smartphone in turn commands a microcontroller that manipulate the voltage signals required for droplet actuation in the DMF chip and communicates wirelessly with the microcontroller via Bluetooth module. Moreover, the smartphone acts as a detection and image analysis station with an attached microscopic lens. The holder assembly is fabricated using three-dimensional (3D) printing technology to facilitate rapid prototyping. The holder features a modular design that enables convenient attachment/detachment of a variety of DMF chips to/from an electrical busbar. The electrical circuits, controller and communication system are designed to minimize the power consumption in order to run the device on small lithium ion batteries. Successful controlled DMF operations and a basic colorimetric assay using the smartphone are demonstrated.

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