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 ")

Self-Healing Materials For Spacecraft
'It even had an inter-skin layer of gum that sealed the punctures...'- Raymond Z. Gallun, 1951.

Canada's Inflatable Space Elevator Tower
"...establish an elevator system linking Earth to space?"- Arthur C. Clarke, 1976.

Artificial Gravity? Why Not?
'The artificial gravity-controls in the base of the ship... were being tampered with!' - Ray Cummings

NASA Misses $5Trillion Funding Boost
'This must be a golden planet—this little asteroid.' - Garrett P. Serviss, 1898.

 

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

Ecocapsule - Simak's Dream Of A Prefab House
'They are heated and air conditioned by a solar plant that tops anything... that we have today.'

New Super Slippery Surface Better Than Nature's
'The water flowed off those walls without binding tension.'

Killer Robot COTSBot Stalks Starfish
'X-120's long jointed arms swung swiftly. The tiny animal lay crushed...'

Heart-In-A-Box Saves Organ For Later
'Storage in the hospital's organ banks...'

MultiFab 10-Material 3D Printer
'On the concrete platform, in front of the dying Biltong, lay a heap of originals to be duplicated.'

Chaac Ha Dew Collector ala Dune
'The surface condenses moisture out of the air. That moisture trickles down...'

Digital Immortality For Your Personality
'You've got remote storage. How regular is the update?'

Robots Take Our Jobs By Reading Our Instructions
'The Talk Between Robots radio...'

Surgery In Space
' It was a ... coffin, form-fitted to Nessus himself...'

Flimmer Navy Drone Flies And Swims
Launch the Flying Sub!

Taser Drones Now Legal In North Dakota
'I sent my eyes on their rounds and tended my gallery of one hundred-thirty changing pictures...'

Growing Metal In The Shape You Want
What more do you need, engineers?

Self-Healing Materials For Spacecraft
'It even had an inter-skin layer of gum that sealed the punctures...'

World's First Full-Colour, Flexible Thin-Film Reflective Display
'A wide sheet of clear material suddenly flared with light and swirling colour....'

Jazz AI Compliments Of DARPA
'I request that you feed the correlation between those dots and the levers of the panel into my memory banks.'

Tasty Space Lettuce!
Having tested, we tasted.

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.