Not so long ago, self health monitoring was largely limited to weighing ourselves to see how a diet was going and sticking a thermometer under our tongue to see if we were getting sick. For everything else we went to the family doctor.
That was in the past. Technology has put health and fitness monitoring firmly in consumers’ hands. Starting with pedometers in the 1980s and progressing to the myriad wearable fitness trackers flooding the market today. The grip has just tightened again with Cue – a device that allows users to run medical diagnostics from the comfort of their own home.
Cue is basically a miniaturized medical lab you can keep on your countertop. Using a tiny microfluidics array and a range of different sensors, Cue can give you metrics on things like inflammation, vitamin D levels, fertitlity, influenza, and testosterone — things that were previously only available through lab tests at a hospital.
While these seem to be an interesting bundle of self-tests to release a product with, developers identified them as the most common tests run by general practitioners (GPs) in the US and say more tests will be rolled out in the future.
Tests are undertaken at home by taking a small sample and loading it into a testing cartridge, which is in-turn loaded into the Cue sensor unit. Sample types vary depending on the test being undertaken, with influenza requiring a nasal swab, testosterone a saliva sample and blood for the rest. These samples are placed on a wand that is loaded into a cartridge engineered with the chemistry and microfluidic design needed to prepare the sample for Cue to test. The wand remains locked in the single use cartridge for disposal. with the Cue’s composite microfluidic system and biosensors converting the biological sample into digital information.
This information is transmitted to a companion app for iOS and Android devices via Bluetooth 4.0, with the app then offering ideas on how to improve health. These come in the form of diet plans and suggested activities like going to the gym, running and walking. Suggested activities can be tailored to the user’s interests and can be combined with activity data from existing wearable devices.