Dundee 2014

The Future

This is Only the Beginning

Before the L.A.S.S.O. can move onto becoming a usable device there are further issues we need to take care of. First of all we would need to find a replacement for the Arduino. Although it works well for our proof of concept, it does not have the resolution to make an optimal device. We need to look into the availability of a commercially available replacement, or whether it might be possible to custom build our own microcontroller. Another issue that we would tackle in future work is allowing the L.A.S.S.O. to communicate wirelessly. This would allow it to be controlled by a smartphone application as opposed to a laptop. Once these issues have been rectified the device can move towards clinical testing. This would be a long process, but it would show if the project as a whole (including the biological systems) was fit for purpose and deployable in the real world.

The Light Amplifying Signal Sensing Object is the beginnings of a device that has huge potential to meet the evolving health service. There is a movement of monitoring patients away from a hospital or clinic setting to their own homes1. The device can fit well into this environment. In future iterations it could be used by patients to keep a more detailed record of their bacterial levels. This would be possible as the tests will be easily accessible and the results will be recorded digitally and automatically. The L.A.S.S.O. could be used as part of a telemedicine system where medical staff can carry out a check up over the internet, similar to a currently running project in Australia2. This is also reflected in the L.A.S.S.O. Interface. At the Cystic Fibrosis Trust conference this year Tim Kelsey, National Director for Patients and Information for NHS England, talked about how “the biggest challenge right now is electronic record keeping in hospitals”. He mentioned that the NHS “don’t have a personalized data system” and highlighted the “safety and imperative of digital records”. As the software shows it is possible to easily create a digital record of a patient's test results allowing for analysis of the trends over time. This could be expanded to look for patterns over a patient's life, e.g. at certain times the levels increase, allowing for the possibility of more informed preventive treatment.

But before the L.A.S.S.O. moves towards becoming a home use device there are ethical issues that need to be answered. A point of concern that was raised by medical staff about the device being used alone by patients would be their reactions when they receive positive results. It could depend on the individual, and their circumstances, what the reactions could be. Example being, if a patient is waiting for a lung transplant and the results show they have contracted Burkholderia cenocepacia, the patient may not then be eligible for their lung transplant and be rather distressed. With no guarantee for a medical professional immediately being available, the device has gone from helping to harming the user. On the other side of it, the patients we talked to were very positive about the results being available. They felt this would help them understand what was happening and be more involved in discussing their treatments. There are pros and cons to how they should be used in the future and this would take further research and testing to decide on the best practice.


1 BBC News (2014) Funding for home health monitoring [Online] Available from: [Accessed: 19th July 2014]
2 Pulse IT (2013) Cystic fibrosis telemonitoring project [Online] Available from: [Accessed: 14th July 2014]