LOCAD-PTS Handheld Microorganism Detector

LOCAD-PTS (Lab-On-a-Chip Application Development–Portable Test System) is a hand-held device that can detect the presence of bacteria or fungi in record time. The device was tested aboard the International Space Station for the first time last month.


(LOCAD-PTS, handheld biological laboratory)

The standard method of culturing suspect bacteria is far more time-consuming. Typically, the investigator must press a square of solid gel growth medium to a surface for a few moments, put it back in its package, and then let the sample incubate for a few days.

LOCAD-PTS, on the other hand, takes only a few minutes. The investigator takes a sterile dry swab (similar to a Q-tip) and rubs it on the surface. Then, ultra-clean water is flushed through the swab; a few drops of the liquid is dispensed into the LOCAD-PTS instrument.


(LOCAD-PTS reader [left] and swabbing unit [right])

Microorganisms can affect the health of both astronauts and spacecraft. (Yes, spacecraft can get "sick" from microorganisms; see Unwanted Life Forms Abound In Sick Spacecraft for details.) According to Norman Wainwright of the Charles River Laboratories in Charleston, SC:

"The ability to monitor microorganisms would be especially important on long space voyages, not only to check the health of astronauts but also to monitor electronics and structural materials, which can be corroded or otherwise damaged by certain fungi and bacteria," says Wainwright. LOCAD-PTS is designed so that "astronauts can do the analysis onboard with no need to return samples to laboratories on Earth."

This little wonder is very similar to a device described by sf author Greg Bear in his new novel Quantico. Do terrorists have engineered bio-weapons? Better use the WAGD to find out:

She had yet to bring out her WAGD - pronounced Wag-Dee, for Wright Assay Germ Detector - a biohazard analyzer the size and shape of a large magic marker. She carried two in her coat pocket...
(Read more about the WAGD germ detector with excerpts from an interview with Greg Bear)

This device is not to be confused with the famous Star Trek tricorder, of which NASA has several prototypes:

Read more at Science@NASA.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 5/13/2007)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 2 )

Related News Stories - (" Space Tech ")

Students! NASA Wants To 3D Print Your Tool Design In Space!
'Mass-produced only in the orbiting factories...'- Arthur C. Clarke, 1979

Flock Of Minisats Will Image The Earth
'We... dropped roughly a thousand eyes on Beta Hydri IV.'- Robert Silverberg, 1969.

The Manned Maneuvering Unit Story
'Little spurts of red-orange flame from the reaction pistol marked his companion's trail...'- Gordon A. Giles, 1937.

Bigelow's Inflatable BEAM Module Ready For ISS In 2015
'The bubble had inflatable seats and an inflatable table...'- Larry Niven, 1994.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Linux Robot Masters Automatic Charging
'Then it appeared to make up its mind, and trundled over to a wall socket...'

PR2 Robot Dominates In Laundry Room
Where are the robots who will pick up discarded clothes?

Do You Want A Tablet Computer? Or, Fad Over?
'He would plug his foolscap-sized Newspad into the ship's information circuit'

First Person Video Flying Parrot Bebop Drone Video
'Over a radius of several miles Sonya's raytron apparatus could direct its flight...'

XPrize's Diamandis Implants RFID Tag In Hand
'People in Manhattan have replaced their Freedom Card with a radio-frequency chip about the size of a vitamin pill.'

Lightpaper Way Thinner Than OLED
'You have this on Siwenna?'

Foodini 3D Printer
''...Food slot gave him flat reddish-brown bricks.'

Parrot Bebop Drone Pairs With Your Smartphone
'Over a radius of several miles Sonya's raytron apparatus could direct its flight [using] an image of all that the lens eye saw.'

SCRIBE Enables Distributed Genomically Encoded Memory
Genomic DNA for analog, rewritable, and flexible memory.

Artisanal 3D Printing By Martha Stewart
'Nanofax AG offers a technology that digitally reproduces objects, physically, at a distance.'

Knightscope Robot Security Guards Ready
'A robot guard appeared, streaking toward them across the field.'

Bullet-Proof Kevlar Woven Electronics
'Check the watch imprinted on his sleeve...'

USAF 'BATMAN' Wrist Display
'The tiny screen in the bracelet's center...'

CoBots - Collaborative Robots Ask Humans For Help
'Whenever a robot finds something it can't identify... You give it a good look.'

Shape-Shifting Carbon Fiber
'Its lines wavered, flowed, and then painfully reformed.'

'Digital Drugs' (Like Herbert's Semuta?) Dismays Saudis
'The effect (described as timeless, sustained ecstasy) is elicited by certain atonal vibrations...'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.