Products > Dodgy Technology

Single use electronics / digital pregnancy tests

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nuclearcat:
I noticed among friends' discussions that they are talking about digital pregnancy tests.
In my opinion, this is just awful, to use electronics just to read strips. Pure show off "its digital" (1)
As far as i know each produced electronic circuit create huge amount of chemical waste. Why to pollute our planet for such silly reasons?

1. There is opinion it is improving readability https://twitter.com/peterktodd/status/1302117569655189504
What do you think about such "devices"?

Kean:
This was likely brought about by the teardown twitter thread by foone.
https://twitter.com/Foone/status/1301707401024827392

In general I agree they seem pretty wasteful, not that my wife or I have ever had a need to use one sadly.

Foone & Naomi Wu posted later updates giving some valid reasons for the existence of single use digital pregnancy testers, especially once considered from the positions of a female and other factors - vision impairment, education, etc.
https://twitter.com/Foone/status/1301838969508737024

Surely it wouldn't be very hard to redesign these single use electronic devices into multi-use with some kind of refill that still keeps it reasonably hygienic.  They could likely make more profit on a slightly more expensive upfront purchase with overpriced refills, and still create less waste.

nuclearcat:

--- Quote from: Kean on September 05, 2020, 04:38:02 pm ---This was likely brought about by the teardown twitter thread by foone.
https://twitter.com/Foone/status/1301707401024827392

In general I agree they seem pretty wasteful, not that my wife or I have ever had a need to use one sadly.

Foone & Naomi Wu posted later updates giving some valid reasons for the existence of single use digital pregnancy testers, especially once considered from the positions of a female and other factors - vision impairment, education, etc.
https://twitter.com/Foone/status/1301838969508737024

Surely it wouldn't be very hard to redesign these single use electronic devices into multi-use with some kind of refill that still keeps it reasonably hygienic.  They could likely make more profit on a slightly more expensive upfront purchase with overpriced refills, and still create less waste.

--- End quote ---
Good point.
She also mentioned very important point: in some cases privacy required. E.g. frightened teen dont want to expose to parents she have sex life.
Universal (and reusable) portable ELISA reader that can be handy also to check food contamination, test for various diseases and etc, so it might be still option to have and still can preserve privacy and wont ring bells.
For example each test can have small barcode that will give hint what kind of test inserted and what to look for (some need spectrometry, some just intensity), test, to prevent device contamination is inserted in disposable transparent cartridge.

Kean:
There are very similar test strips mounted in cassettes for detecting all kinds of things.  I think I've seen them for detecting food poisoning or allergens, various pesticides, pregnancy, ovulation, colon cancer, etc.  Even COVID-19 now: https://www.surescreen.com/products/covid-19-coronavirus-rapid-test-cassette

They can be used "manually", but as you say most just need a simple image sensor of some kind to detect whether bars appear in the appropriate places for a valid positive or negative reading.  A mini spectrometer can be also added but still adds a fair bit to the cost, although far less than it used to.  You just need a barcode reader to read the barcode or QR code on the cassette which encodes detection type and expiry date, and you can make a reasonably low cost and widely useful rapid diagnostic device.

Similar machines already exist for certain testing industries, just not for consumers.  I've actually consulted on building such a machine.  Once you design a sexy enclosure, add electronics & touch screen, software for UI and "image" processing, test and calibration procedures, build marketing, support, and distribution channels... you suddenly have a product that costs many thousands of dollars each.  A long way from where we started with a single use pregnancy test for a few bucks.

It is actually incredible that these disposable pregnancy tests can include the electronics and still be so cheap.  It just happens to be a market that has the sales volume and people willing to spend a few dollars more for a "premium" product.

Siwastaja:
I'm concerned about the fact that people who can't read, understand and follow simple instruction in form of "wait two minutes", are having unprotected sex.

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