Commercial PCR machines are getting smaller and cheaper all the time, and we just covered a new device that costs only $6,000 and requires little technical training to run. Now we learn of a new device developed at University of Otago in New Zealand that is small and portable enough to be taken just about anywhere for field testing suspected cases of infection.
The device is called Freedom4 and it utilizes quantitative PCR technology to spot target DNA sequences within about an hour. It runs on batteries and can interface with a computer or a smartphone that crunch the data and display results.
The device has already been tested by the New Zealand Institute of Environmental and Scientific Research in identifying E. coli. and some disease causing viruses. The researchers confirmed that the Freedom4 device provided results comparable to those produced by much larger laboratory machines.