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National Runner Up

Non-Invasive Bacteria Detector on Wounds

Non-invasive System for Detection of Species of Microorganisms in Infectious Wounds

What it does

The invention comes in a portable, sensor-based device that detects gas emitted by an open wound through electrochemical signals. Immediate detection of bacteria allows for administering the proper medication to a patient.

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The majority of the country's population belongs to the poverty range. The capacity of the overall public health care system to meet this demand is largely inadequate. Likewise, walk-in patients have to wait in long queues before receiving proper medical attention. Unfortunately, Filipinos have a common practice to explore alternative methods that may be detrimental to their health, such as performing self-medication and seeking folk healer advice. With antimicrobial resistance being a looming threat globally, these events will further exacerbate the situation and overwhelm the Philippines’ already challenged health care system.

How it works

The patient with an open wound places the device strategically to collect the gas emitted. The electrochemical gas sensor detects the four chemicals such as ammonia, benzene, toluene, and methane to produce a single output, a concentration of the chemicals representing the type of bacteria in the wound. The signal from the sensor will be picked up by a transducer element, a combination of a bioreceptor and an electrical interface. The transducer signal will then be converted into an electronic signal and amplified by a signal amplifier that will then be processed in LCD. The whole system is compacted into a device that could be brought everywhere inside the hospital as long as there is a power source.

Design process

The project went through an engineering design process that involves consideration of design constraints, application of engineering standards, and tradeoffs among alternatives. The following are the design options: electrochemical sensor, optoelectronic sensor, and temperature sensor. The design was based on client requirements to create a non-invasive device for detecting bacterial species in infectious wounds considering the following design constraints: reliability, portability, sustainability, economic, and safety. Sensitivity analysis determines the winning design by considering the level of importance of each design constraint. The Pareto optimality analysis then validates this. Among these options, a non-invasive detection system using an electrochemical sensor was ultimately considered in creating the prototype based on the client requirements, sensitivity analysis, and Pareto optimality analysis.

How it is different

The project is an alternative tool for checking the bacteria present in a wound faster and more economical way. It can save time in getting the result than the normal process where it can take several days to process the laboratory tests in public hospitals in the Philippines. The cost is cheaper since it will not require another medical machine to identify the bacteria. Instead, a direct portable scanner is used. It can also be used by other non-medical staff to secure over-the-counter medicines for antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

Future plans

The project can be commercialized or sold to health centers to identify open wound bacteria. Health care facilities in rural areas are not accessible. It can be used as first aid for emergency cases. Since it is portable and there is no need for additional medical equipment to test the wound, the result is faster and can serve more patients at a given time. This could also lead to portable-based medical innovations in the country. If the innovations are continuously developed, they can evolve into an intelligent portable-based medical tool that can even recommend an appropriate antibiotic and alternative medicines.


This invention was part of the top 5 during the St. Luke's Student Innovation Awards last 2019 with the theme, "A Safer, Sustainable, and Connected World."

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