Portable and Battery-Operated Digital Microfluidics Device

Field Sample Preparation and Diagnostics

At a Glance

Researchers at Colorado State University have developed a battery-operated device for sample preparation and diagnostic use. Using Electro‐Wetting on Dielectric (EWOD) technology, the device described herein can accomplish most steps (dispensing, mixing, etc.) needed for sample preparation with minimum human involvement in a form‐factor that is intended for hand‐held use and powered by battery. This device could increase the accessibility of medical diagnostics in rural or remote areas, shorten the time-to-data for lab results, and decrease the need for sending expensive test requests to diagnostic centers.


Sample preparation has typically been a limiting factor in medicine, often being time-consuming and costly due to reagents, time, and sample handling procedures. The complexity of such sample preparations, particularly with human-involved steps, usually requires sophisticated lab equipment for dispensing, mixing, and storage.


This innovation is a portable microfluidic device, with supporting hardware and software integration to correctly operate sample preparation tasks in a completely self-contained and battery-powered handheld unit. This device could perform several tests or diagnostics and would greatly reduce the burden in rural medicine on lab and personnel costs. The chips are disposable and could be created for various diagnostic needs.

Video demonstration available upon request.


  • Self-contained device removes expensive lab equipment and storage cost
  • Device is portable and hand-held without the need for external power supply
  • Disposable and low-cost cartridge for reagents handling integrated with the system
  • Shortened time-to-data for test results
  • Able to perform complex mixing and dispensing functions
  • Low-cost of unit manufacturing and ownership


  • Sample preparation
  • Rural medicine and diagnostics
  • Remote or field work capable
Last Updated: September 2022
Arrays of microfluidic devices and wells

Available for Licensing
TRL: 4


Tom Chen
Nicholas Grant

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Jessy McGowan