An automated, low cost data acquisition system designed for deployment in impoverished nations, the TB Cam is intended to automate many aspects of diagnosing tuberculosis (TB) which are currently performed manually in many parts of the world. Designed to be a rugged, portable device, it is capable of performing automated 2D raster scans of a single microscope slide while also handling automatic focus control and safety control to prevent damaging slides while under analysis. Coupled with the ability to rapidly acquire dozens of images in seconds and then stitching them together for analysis and counting the number of bacteria detected, this device has the potential to become an extremely useful tool for reducing lead time on diagnosing potential TB patients. The final device also incorporates a touchscreen and simple UI for ease-of-use and direct control of the microscope slide positioning if manual control is desired.
Starting from humble beginnings as a prototype made from simple DSP/PLC chips and LEGO, the current design now uses aluminum t-slot extrusions and an AmScope microscope plus mechnical stage for the mechanical portion of the design, and a combination of a RaspBerry PI Model-B micro PC and custom hardware for motor control and analog to digital conversion (ADC). Work is currently underway to further drive down material costs through the use of 3D printing mechnical parts for the overall design, allowing for a complete turnkey solution for production and assembly of a complete, low cost device unimpeded by royalty fees or licensing constraints.