Neogen manufactures a proprietary chemical reagent that glows in contact with microbial life. Mix some microbes (bacteria, amoeba, etc.) into the reagent and it will fluoresce with the characteristic color of a lightning bug. The more microbes, the brighter the glow.
This is invaluable for environmental monitoring and quantifying the cleanliness of a surface in health care, food preparation, and even public transportation.
For many years, Neogen offered a handheld device, the AccuPoint®, to measure the very low levels of light given off by the fluorescent reaction. Unfortunately, these devices often spent more time being repaired and recalibrated than actually used. Furthermore, the device lacked many of the data and connectivity features that we now take for granted.
Neogen came to Porticos to help develop the next generation of the AccuPoint device.
Neogen defined performance expectations for precision, accuracy, and stability. The required performance was to be demonstrated with their existing “Test Samples” which are supposed to emit the representative wavelength of light with almost perfect repeatability. Unfortunately, Porticos was able to show that the Test Samples themselves were notoriously unreliable. To address this issue, Porticos developed new, better Test Samples that could be used to evaluate the performance of the handheld device.
Concurrent to this, Porticos was developing new variants of the Accupoint Next Generation, including improved aesthetic and ergonomic design, device software, and power supply. The new device was designed to reliably measure low levels of light by applying several improvements:
- Selection of a light-sensing technology appropriate to the application.
- Development of a very dark environment; a “light-proof” chamber within the instrument.
- Planned automated factory calibration of every single device to account for tiny variations in the behavior of light-sensing components.
- A means to correct for variations in the environment, such as ambient temperature.
- A method of recurrent calibration that could be performed, reliably, by a user without access to special tools or instruments.
In addition, communication protocols for the new device were defined in cooperation with another firm already updating Windows-based software for analyzing the collected data.
Neogen announced the launch of the AccuPoint Advanced Next Generation in April of 2021. Porticos continues to help Neogen manufacture this device in ever-higher volumes.
Read more about the Neogen AccuPoint project in our Product Development Spotlight.