Cost-Effective Technology Development
Our client, Genosis, had developed an OTC male fertility test which mimics nature by separating the motile (active) sperm from the non-motile (inactive) sperm and then measures them using a chemical test strip.
The sperm travel through a column of fluid which must be maintained accurately at normal body temperature, the best conditions for the motile sperm.
It is imperative that the temperature is precisely controlled for accurate read-out of motile sperm numbers, but any temperature regulator must be compatible with a disposable testing device.
Plextek initially undertook a design study for Genosis which examined the potential options available for the fluid heating system: whether to use a simple discrete controller or a more flexible microprocessor based solution.
After reviewing the options, the Plextek electronics team developed an ultra-low cost but highly precise microcontroller that accurately regulates the temperature of the fluid column.
The basic functions were easily augmented so that temperature limit checking and module health functions were incorporated at no additional material cost.
The hardware & software design and manufacturing engineering was always undertaken in a way to minimise the factory gate cost, ensuring that the final product would be both reliable and affordable.
After thorough laboratory testing and extensive clinical trials, the product was successfully launched as an OTC product containing both male and female fertility tests and marketed through Boots.
The availability of an accurate, simple to use OTC screening test for male fertility affords couples earlier diagnosis which translates into a greater number of couples successfully conceiving and having healthy babies.