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Thursday, May 10, 2018

Draper and HealthCubed to Partner on Low-cost Diagnostics for Children

Goal is to identify, understand and prioritize unmet needs in low resource regions across the globe

CAMBRIDGE, MA—Draper and HealthCubed announce a partnership to enable point-of-care diagnostics to reliably and quickly identify infectious agents in low-resource environments. The partnership will address a major health crisis in tropic and sub-tropic regions:  many diseases with classic fever and headache symptoms are being misdiagnosed on a massive scale because diagnosis is based largely on health signs and symptoms, not on medical-grade diagnostic tools.

Point-of-care (POC) diagnostics are rarely available in the developing world, where in some geographies at least two-thirds of children are infected by both a virus and a bacterial agent that are often misdiagnosed. The deployment of a front-line field diagnostic tool sensitive enough for the effective and timely treatment of a complex cast of infectious agents is critical for short-term treatment as well as longer-term disease elimination efforts.

“Low-cost point-of-care diagnostics is a vital tool for determining whether a fever, chills or flu-like symptom is caused by a virus, bacteria or parasites,” said Sheila Hemami, Director of Strategic Technical Opportunities at Draper. “Making point-of-care diagnosis more available holds out the promise of improving health in the developing world. Draper looks forward to partnering with HealthCubed and leveraging our expertise in biomedical solutions to develop a rapid fever diagnostic for the HealthCube device and enable its wider deployment.”

HealthCube is an integrated cloud- and instrument-based platform that incorporates a medical-grade Android device-based portable instrument capable of doing several POC diagnostic tests in minutes. The device incorporates a range of urine- and finger prick-based rapid diagnostic tests along with diagnostic algorithms and applications for patient registration and medical records.

According to HealthCubed Founder and Chairman Ramanan Laxminarayan, who is also Director at the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy, and a Senior Research Scholar and Lecturer at Princeton University, the HealthCube platform surpasses the capabilities of currently deployed field diagnostics in that it provides an integrated platform to detect multiple diagnostic parameters. “Since its debut, HealthCube has provided a vital service to tens of thousands of patients, but there are hundreds of millions more in need,” said Laxminarayan. “We look forward to working with Draper on a partnership for improving the health and well-being of many in need throughout the developing world.”

More broadly, HealthCubed and Draper are collaborating to identify, understand and prioritize unmet needs in poor and under-resourced areas across the globe. The combination of  Draper's engineering capabilities and HealthCubed’s validation capabilities enable rapid development, deployment and validation of solutions to address these global health and development needs.

An interdisciplinary team at Draper is leading the partnership with HealthCubed under a Draper initiative called Engineering Impact that applies Draper’s capabilities and technologies to global challenges.


HealthCubed is in the business of digitizing global health for improving access, quality and efficiency. HealthCubed  aims to innovate and sell instant, high quality, efficient, affordable, point of care diagnostics and follow-up services leading to better health compliance, decisions and outcomes. The company’s flagship product, HealthCube-SE, is an innovative patient management and diagnostic tool that helps clinics and doctors improve patient care. It is a portable device that can perform multiple diagnostic tests, including urine- and finger prick-based rapid diagnostic tests along with diagnostic algorithms and applications for patient registration, medical records, payment and referrals. Tests results are available in minutes and are saved in encrypted format.

Draper and HealthCubed are working together to bring point-of-care diagnostics to the developing world. (Credit: Shutterstock.)
Capabilities Used

Draper has designed and developed microelectronic components and systems going back to the mid-1980s. Our integrated, ultra-high density (iUHD) modules of heterogeneous components feature system functionality in the smallest form factor possible through integration of commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) technology with Draper-developed custom packaging and interconnect technology. Draper continues to pioneer custom Microelectromechanical Systems (MEMS), Application-Specific Integrated Circuits (ASICs) and custom radio frequency components for both commercial (microfluidic platforms organ assist, drug development, etc.) and government (miniaturized data collection, new sensors, Micro-sats, etc.) applications.  Draper features a complete in-house iUHD and MEMS fabrication capability and has existing relationships with many other MEMS and microelectronics fabrication facilities. 

Human-Centered Solutions

Draper has continued to advance the understanding and application of human-centered engineering to optimize the interaction and capabilities of the human’s ability to better understand, assimilate and convey information for critical decisions and tasks. Through its Human-Centered Solutions capability, Draper enables accomplishment of users’ most critical missions by seamlessly integrating technology into a user’s workflow. This work leverages human-computer interaction through emerging findings in applied psychophysiology and cognitive neuroscience. Draper has deep skills in the design, development, and deployment of systems to support cognition – for users seated at desks, on the move with mobile devices or maneuvering in the cockpit of vehicles – and collaboration across human-human and human-autonomous teams.

Image & Data Analytics

Draper combines specific domain expertise and knowledge of how to apply the latest analytics techniques to extract meaningful information from raw data to better understand complex, dynamic processes. Our system design approach encompasses effective organization and processing of large data sets, automated analysis using algorithms and exploitation of results. To facilitate user interaction with these processed data sets, Draper applies advanced techniques to automate understanding and correlation of patterns in the data. Draper’s expertise encompasses machine learning (including deep learning), information fusion from diverse and heterogeneous data sources, optimized coupling of data acquisition and analysis and novel methods for analysis of imagery and video data.

Materials Engineering & Microfabrication

Draper continues to develop its expertise in designing, characterizing and processing materials at the macro-, micro- and nanoscales. Understanding the physical properties and behaviors of materials at these various scales is vital to exploit them successfully in designing components or systems. This enables the development and integration of biomaterials, 3D printing and additive manufacturing, wafer fabrication, chemical and electrochemical materials and structural materials for application to system-level solutions required of government and commercial sponsors.

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