The broader impact of this Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project is to help manage and prevent non-communicable chronic diseases by developing a passive health and wellness monitoring system for personalized dietary recommendations, early disease diagnosis, and remote patient monitoring. According to the 2019 Global Burden of Disease Update, suboptimal dietary intake is responsible for more than 1 out of every 5 deaths globally, making it the greatest preventable disease risk factor. Decades of research have shown that tracking nutritional intake can lead to better awareness of dietary intake patterns and improve nutritional health. Yet diet-tracking mobile apps, despite their popularity, are inaccurate and overly burdensome and thus often lead to quitting. In addition, waiting for health complications to develop before diagnosing most chronic diseases reduces healthspans and leads to more costly healthcare interventions. There is a societal need for a passive nutrition and health-monitoring device for helping individuals recognize patterns of malnutrition on a routine basis for guiding lifelong behavior change and identifying biomarkers of disease early. This platform technology will reduce morbidity and mortality associated with most major chronic diseases, decrease healthcare costs, and reduce lost productivity.
The proposed project will address the feasibility of integrating a wireless, electrochemical biosensor testing platform into a toilet for passive urinalysis testing. Better preventative healthcare requires individuals to monitor health and wellbeing routinely, long before clinical problems arise. Yet getting individuals to perform consistent, routine diagnostic evaluations is exceedingly difficult. The most effective route for routine monitoring of health data is through pervasive testing where the individual?s burden is as nonexistent as possible. There is a clinical and commercial opportunity for ubiquitous, passive, and routine home urine testing using an internet-connected smart-toilet equipped with biosensors for accurate urine-testing. Key technical hurdles include the development of a system capable of reliable urine collection and dilution normalization, contamination accounting, the development of a robust mechatronic sub-assembly for passively retrieving, translating, testing, and storing disposable electrochemical biosensors, biometric user identification, and integration of wireless data transfer capabilities with smart power management. Error rates associated with false test cycle starts, faulty biosensor manipulation, dilution and contamination accounting, and false user identification will be quantified, and the electrochemical biosensors? in situ test results will be compared against benchtop equivalents.?
This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.