back to article Want to know if that hottie has HIV? Put their blood in the DVD player

Cunning Swedish boffins have come up with a new use for the cheap technology in optical DVD drives: it can be used to carry out complex biochemical tests, even to the point of detecting HIV in a blood sample. See? It is basically a DVD player This isn't hyperbole - an actual DVD player has been converted into a laser …

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  1. mIRCat
    Coat

    Anti-virus not included?

    I suppose I'll be expected to upgrade my blu-ray collection now.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Pint

    Clever

    Impressive thinking in coming up with that one.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Unhappy

      Re: Clever

      Sadly it looks like the joint developer, Plarion of Cambridge went bust last year, another win for UK industry.

      http://www.cambridgenetwork.co.uk/news/plarion-closing-down-sale/

      As someone who sells analytical equipment to manufacturers and laboratories, I'd love to have this in my portfolio - that's as long as it does what it says it does.

    2. Schultz Silver badge

      Re: Clever

      But by the time the device is declared as fit for medical diagnostics, it'll be 30 k$ and it'll be a large "machine that goes ping".

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Clever

        Does it have to be cleared though? If it errs on the side of caution then it can be used as a cheap preliminary test; if it thinks you might have HIV then you can be tested on the big expensive pingy machine to confirm it.

        You know, a bit like how the police do a preliminary blood-alcohol test before you blow in the big machine.

        1. Nigel 11
          Thumb Up

          Re: Clever

          A cheap laser scanning microscope is a great idea. Couldn't it be marketed to schools? Or be used for quick analysis of lubricating oil samples? (the number and types of metal particles therein can give advance warning of bearing or gear failures).

          I'm not so sure about the HIV testing. I thought that needed an antibody test? Counting the cells in a blood sample might tell you if someone is developing AIDS ... but that happens years after infection with the HIV virus, and the infection can be passed on during that time.

    3. James Micallef Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Clever

      Really impressive bit of kit, and perfectly matched to the completely unsuspicious "I'll put some (sexy) music on while you pour the wine"

      However, one major snag - How does one go about asking for a blood sample? Somehow I suspect that "excuse me, could I shove this needle into your finger, since I suspect you might have HIV" could be a bit of a mood-killer.

      And obtaining it surreptitiously might get complicated, not to mention legal/privacy issues of "accidentally on purpose" stabbing someone.

      1. stanimir
        Trollface

        Re: Clever

        To get a blood sample you need some scratches, use a modified bathroom door handle.

        Alternatives include sedatives in the proposed wine. I am sure you can figure a way once you lay hands on the portable tester.

        1. Uplink

          Re: Clever

          For scratches, get a cat, or dog, that has claws. Cat claws appear to be a lot more effective than dog claws, because they don't need a lot of force to cause damage, and when they cause the damage, it's not flesh deep :) Then, under the ruse of helping your target clean the wounds, collect your sample.

          For the more geeky inclined, a "babe, I got this modified DVD player that can check for HIV and other cool biological things" remark will most certainly elicit a "awesome! can I try it? we'll eat later" response.

        2. Sam Liddicott
          Thumb Down

          Re: Clever

          until you scratch yourself on the same handle afterwards and find out that yes they were infected and now you may be too

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Getting Blood

        If you can wait, there should be a perfectly acceptable blood sample ready within the next 28 days...

        Or if they are into the rough stuff, from under your fingernails.

      3. Black Betty

        Re: Clever

        If it can be made this simple and potentially even simpler and cheaper still, why shouldn't it be as casual as the sex?

  3. Khaptain Silver badge
    Pint

    Sublime

    Listen to Mozart whilst testing for HIV.

    Does the music change according to the outcome ?

    <-- One of these coming soon, it's Friday

    1. Yag

      Re: Sublime

      No, if it's positive, it will still play Mozart... The "Dies irae" probably

      1. wowfood

        Re: Sublime

        And here I thought it'd play 'Everyone has AIDS' from Team America.

        1. Anonymous Coward 15

          Re: Sublime

          Or "You have AIDS" from Family Guy.

        2. Montreal Sean

          Re: Sublime

          Or "Everybody's got AIDS" by the Montreal SKA band Me Mom & Morgentaler.

          :)

      2. James Micallef Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Sublime

        If it's positive it plays Beethoven's Fifth.... the "knocking on the gates of hell" Ta-da-da-DUUUUUHH

  4. Wallyb132
    WTF?

    i can see it now...

    Sorry baby, my DVD player says you have HIV...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: i can see it now...

      And if you want a second opinion you can ask the dishwasher

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: i can see it now...

        Unfortunately, she has HIV too.

  5. frank ly

    Home Use ??

    I suspect that the preparation of a blood sample, spreading it on the DVD and maybe fixing or drying it would be a skilled task, not suitable for home use. I'd like to see more details of how it works in terms of the signal from the scanning laser and how it is interpreted.

    1. vagabondo

      Re: Home Use ??

      This appears to be a scanned image of the article, which unfortunately I cannot read (poor eyesight) and frustrates the text-to speech. I would be grateful if someone could read it an comment. on the methodology.

      http://www.rsc.org/images/loc/2012/pdf/W.8.177.pdf

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Home Use ??

        Looks interesting. They added a second photodetector, and a temperature control unit to minimize the effects of ambient temperature (which can otherwise screw the tests, apparently). The process is currently pretty automated once you've got a sample on the disc, but getting the sample ready is a fairly involved business, taking a couple of hours by people who know what they're doing and have the right equipment. However, they say the next step that they are currently working on is a automated system that will do all that for you. If they can get that sorted, then home use is not impossible, but I'd think its more likely to be something that you'd still want someone with medical training to operate and interpret the results - something your local GP would have at their clinic, that the nurse would operate, for example.

        Incidentally, I think you might want to get a better PDF reader, that was a perfectly ordinary PDF, not a photo of the original, it should have been no less readable than any other document.

        1. vagabondo

          Re: Home Use ??

          @AC 07:40

          > that was a perfectly ordinary PDF, not a photo of the original

          Thanks very much -- it was a browser thing. When I downloaded the pdf I was both able to open it with "less" (which rendered the text readable), and listen to it with "Jovie" (KDE). I will know better next time.

          Thanks again.

      2. Khaptain Silver badge

        Re: Home Use ??

        Direct from PDF:

        DVD SYSTEM AND DEVICE DESIGN

        We show here that a DVD drive can, with certain modifications, be turned into an improved DVD-based Laser

        Scanning Microscope (DVD-LSM) (Fig.1). The DVD-LSM operates in a similar fashion to a standard DVD drive, with the addition of a second photo detector module positioned above the DVD surface. In this way, cells or other absorbance-based reactions on the DVD surface can be detected via the decreased absorbance or scattered light reaching the two photodetectors from the DVD laser light source. Using this principle, we have manufactured a DVD-LSM prototype that incorporates a standard DVD reader with photo detector (detection), rotational control (sample handling), temperature control (optimized bioassay), and software (signal processing).

        A simple U-channel design was used to test the surface treatment procedure and verify cell attachment and counting using the integrated software of the prototype instrument (Fig.2-3). The top polycarbonate layer containing the fluidic features is UV-bonded to the bottom multilayer disc that is pre-functionalized with epoxy-silane. To incorporate a capture-based biological assay onto the DVD platform, the surface of DVD discs were first functionalized to enable the deposition of neutravidin. Briefly, DVD disc were first incubated with a neutravidin solution for 30 minutes, followed by washing with washing buffers. Afterwards, streptavidin-coated beads were used to test the fuctionalization and to evaluate the imaging capabilities of the system. Furthermore, for cell-based experiments, neutravidin was covalently attached to the epoxy-silanized DVD discs by a standard bio-conjugation protocol followed by deposition of antibodies

      3. Mage Silver badge

        Re: Home Use ??

        Ditch/disable the stupid Browser PDF plugin and save the PDF, then open in Foxit or Adobe Reader or Ghostviewer

    2. vagabondo

      Re: Home Use ??

      > the preparation of a blood sample, spreading it on the DVD and maybe fixing or drying it

      I think that this is a cell sorter, rather than a smear analyzer. I woul have used a disc with a channel or chamber, then an e.g. heparinized drop of blood could be applied to to the inner end and spun out by the rotating disc. Heparin, and any immuno-fluorescent marker could be added via the collection pippette.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: dealbreaker

      Darling can I take a blood sample to check you don't have HIV.

      Your coat? You're surely not leaving so soon?

  6. Cliff

    Does it have to be blood?

    Or would a modified game of public school favourite 'soggy biscuit' also be viable? Just thinking how you get a blood sample as casually as some other more freely given ones

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    DVD Laser - Read and Write?

    Hmmm... possibilities are endless. Ingenious.

    Hope the Write facility is turned off on a positive result! - a rerun of "Logan's Run" is the last thing we need!

  8. No such thing as an Anonymous Coward
    Childcatcher

    Lets see...The pregency stick came firts...

    The pregnancy stick came first.

    Next, a HIV test may become available.

    Just missing a miniature ultrasound scanner for either a temporary sterilisation or seeing how the bun in the oven is doing.

    1. Nigel 11

      Re: Lets see...The pregency stick came firts...

      Home HIV test is already available! I vaguely remembered reading about it - Google found this http://www.hivhometests.co.uk/ and many other similar (including Wal-Mart in the USA!)

      1. ManxPower

        Re: Lets see...The pregency stick came firts...

        There is an FDA approved home HIV test kit available in the USA. It isn't actually a test kit, it is a blood sample collection kit which is express mailed back. The actual testing is done by the lab and you call in for the results. In the USA most health insurance does not cover HIV testing. Getting tested at your doctor's office often costs around $300. You can get free or low cost testing at various organizations, but can be a hassle. Personally I think lack of health insurance coverage for HIV testing borders on criminal.

    2. User McUser
      Coat

      Re: Lets see...The pregency stick came firts...

      "The pregnancy stick came first."

      If you're using a Home Pregnancy Test then I'll wager that the man came first...

  9. Katz
    Happy

    Hmm...

    But what if you use Region 2 blood in a Region 1 player?

    1. Danny 14
      Facepalm

      Re: Hmm...

      use a crack or a rip (ouch)?

  10. ISYS
    Coat

    So in order...

    For the initial test you must insert First Blood

    For a second opinion, First Blood part II

    I'll be in the bar.

  11. Luke 11
    Alert

    Shatter!

    So a CD / DVD covered in potentially disgusting filthy AIDS blood get loaded into a player. Due to a power surge the player spins at 100k rpm and shatters the media. The poor lab assistant then gets riddled with bits of DVD covered with AIDS .. NICE ;-)

    1. Frankee Llonnygog

      Re: Shatter!

      You seem to be describing a DVD player with a direct-drive motor powered by a simple rectifier and capacitor PSU. Home-made jobbie?

      1. Luke 11

        Re: Shatter!

        Yeah that's the one. I forget people don't really have a sense of humour on here though. Not like a few years ago.

        Whilst it is an impressive bit of kit the, it is also boring. I was trying to make it more exciting by imagining some tech getting AIDS from it (apparently the HIV virus isn't very durable however) or even better still some zombie related illness.

        Could it be modified to fire out spinning metal tungsten-carbide disks impregnated with the T-Virus from the resident evil movies? That would be far more exciting.

    2. Nigel 11

      Re: Shatter!

      Seriously, if you've ever wondered why the fastest CD rate is 56x, this is why. Early in the development of computer CD drives, they marketed a 64x drive and maybe even a 72x drive. I was once sprayed with plastic shrapnel by one of the 64x drives. The manufacturers soon worked out that 56x was the safety limit of what a CD can take.

      Anyone know if anyone ever suffered actual injury and/or sued?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Shatter!

        It happened to me too but I didn't sue as I was loading a not quite legit copy of windows at the time.

        I thought it was Microsoft's new antipiracy measures for a second or two.

        I wasn't injured bit the dvdr/w play lacked a read head afterwards

      2. John Tserkezis

        Re: Shatter!

        Seriously, if you've ever wondered why the fastest CD rate is 56x, this is why. Early in the development of computer CD drives, they marketed a 64x drive and maybe even a 72x drive. I was once sprayed with plastic shrapnel by one of the 64x drives. The manufacturers soon worked out that 56x was the safety limit of what a CD can take.

        Anyone know if anyone ever suffered actual injury and/or sued?

        This is a near-myth.

        The speed was limited to 56x because the maxium RPM at those read rates (at the outer edge of the disk) was as high as it could get and still have a stable disk. A *bit* faster than that, needed special disk handling to ensure it didn't wobble, and faster than that - you couldn't read a disk at all because of the excessive wobble.

        Drives that claim 72x, actually have a number of read lasers going at the same time (7 from memory), collates all the data, orders it correctly to make it appear that it's being sequencially read, then sent to the interface. From memory, they actually read at *native* 10x (to remain reliable), but the multiple lasers effectively give you 70-odd times. Wikipedia claims these drives were few and far between, very expensive, and offered some compatibility issues.

        Drives nowadays have software sensors that forcibly reduce the read speed if the disk is cracked, distorted or otherwise can't be read for whatever reason. Driving a damaged disk to full drive speed is near impossible, and in the slim chance that it does happen AND it cracks and falls apart, the drive is enclosed, so no-one gets injured in any way. If you operate a drive without the cover, then the fault is entirely yours, you can't sue anyone for your own stupidity - for either mild "testing", or more dramatic MythBusters style testing.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Shatter!

      Even if it did, the viruses would be destroyed. HIV is incredibly sensitive to temperature and pH changes, so the temperature change that happens as the sample is dried would cause the viruses to disintegrate. Once that happened, it would not be infectious (for HIV). It would, however, be a risk for nearly any other blood-borne disease like hepatitis, for example.

      When viral load is measured, they are counting FRAGMENTS of viruses, not viruses, because it’s impossible to test it quickly enough.

  12. Muscleguy Silver badge
    Boffin

    From the Wikipedia page on HIV testing:

    "The CD4 T-cell count is not an HIV test, but rather a procedure where the number of CD4 T-cells in the blood is determined.

    A CD4 count does not check for the presence of HIV. It is used to monitor immune system function in HIV-positive people. Declining CD4 T-cell counts are considered to be a marker of progression of HIV infection."

    So your hottie could be in the early stages of infection which has not yet lowered her CD4 cell count and still be infectious.

    And besides, wouldn't the deployment of a latex/silicone tube not be a much cheaper solution to the doubt? or are you inclined to sexual activities that involve the exchange of blood?

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So many questions

    Your headline alone raises so many questions...

    - "They"? How many of them do you expect there to be???

    - Oh yes, I remember now: that's "gender-neutral" language. Mustn't rule out the possibility that the "hottie" is a nice young bloke.

    - Blood???? Which subset of your readers is this aimed at - Dexter?

    1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

      Re: So many questions

      It is a terrible, terrible insight into Lewis Page's personal life. Or else written by a sub-editor, if The Register has those. Probably that guy whose habit of taking small blood samples from social acquaintances has got him known as "The Willesden Prick".

  14. MrXavia
    Thumb Up

    Impressive!

    Pave the way for remote diagnostics!

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is NOT an HIV detection test!

    Everyone seems to be confused about the nature of this test. CD4+ counting is a test done on people ALREADY KNOWN to be HIV+. The CD4+ cells are the “foot soldiers” of the immune system, and are directed by the CD8+ cells, “the generals.” CD4+ and CD8+ are both targeted and destroyed by HIV; the normal ranges of CD4+ are 400–1000 cells/mL, and if the count drops below 200, the patient is at risk of many secondary infections (and may, for example, take precautionary antibiotics until their system strengthens).

    Do the only way this test will reveal an undiagnosed case, is if the infection has already sprung into high gear and the CD4+ count has already been decimated. This is what happened to me; I was infected in 2001 when I was raped' over the nest 3.5 years I took six HIV tests which were faulty and all reported negative; these tests were removed from the market in late 2004, right when I was diagnosed. At that point I had a CD4+ count so low they had to run the test THREE TIMES because they could not find ANY CD4+ at all; ultimately they said, “<10”. My CD4+ count is now almost 600 — the medicines WORK.

  16. jason 7
    Stop

    What a lovely end to the perfect night.

    You bring the lady/gent back home to yours after having a so wonderful time spent gazing into each others eyes.

    You pour yourselves a glass of wine each, toast the perfect evening and then the night takes it natural course.

    He or she is "the one!"

    But before you get there, you run the test, "of course I don't mind silly!" they say.

    The test comes up 'Positive'

    WTF do you do then?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What a lovely end to the perfect night.

      industrial strength condoms

    2. Patrick R
      Facepalm

      Re: What a lovely end to the perfect night.

      You kick yourself for not having bought the car stereo version instead. That would have saved your night and spared a bottle of wine.

    3. DragonLord

      Re: What a lovely end to the perfect night.

      Run the obligatory second test on myself? After all, it's only fair that both parties get their tests run.

      I'd also be very consoling, and cuddly.

    4. Ian 55
      Facepalm

      Re: What a lovely end to the perfect night.

      Exactly what you'd do if you hadn't bothered to test: use a condom.

      1. jason 7
        Facepalm

        Re: What a lovely end to the perfect night.

        I love the sensitivity!

        "Oh you didn't know you had HIV! Ah well let's have sex anyway! I don't mind if you're crying while I do it!"

    5. LinkOfHyrule
      Paris Hilton

      Re: What a lovely end to the perfect night.

      You should be assuming anyone you pick up is completely riddled with all sorts and play safe. Slap a johnny on and you're good to go. If things get serious at a later stage, you can both go and get tested, if something is a miss, the clap clinic will sort you out. The good thing about HIV these days is that even if your partner did have the virus, by being on anti retroviral drugs, he/she will be barely infectious through intercourse so even if a johnny broke, you're probably okay. They even have post exposure drugs you can take now, as long as you start taking them within about 36-48 hours they will normally kill of any HIV that came yoru way.

      Anyway, you then of course can get married, have kids and live a long and happy life together. These days the life expectancy for someone with HIV in the west is about 2 years less than normal, not the 5 years if you're lucky go cash in that pension, like it was in the 80's and 90s.. And yes, if your HIV positive partner is a woman, she can have your children and thanks to the drugs we now have, the chance of the baby being born positive will be less than 1%.

      Get some bloody johnnies for crying out loud!

      Paris for obvious reasons!

      1. jason 7
        Facepalm

        Re: What a lovely end to the perfect night.

        Ermm no you've kind of all missed the point I was trying to make if you had such tech at home and how it could in a way be devastating if such a situation occurred.

        But it doesn't matter, the chances of this tech getting 'domestic' is pretty slim. But it seems some here feel that being diagnosed with HIV is something a bottle of Nightnurse and a johnny will all make it better. "Nothing to worry about, cheer up love, you won't snuff it today! I've got condoms, I'll be okay!"

        I guess if you are an IT guy a shag is a shag. I didn't think it had got quite that bad.

        1. LinkOfHyrule

          Re: What a lovely end to the perfect night.

          A johnny will make it all right though mate - it will greatly reduce any risk of catching it for most sex acts. Either that or you can continue to fuck people bareback and take their word for it that they don't have HIV.

          HIV home testing kits have been around maybe nearly as long as fifteen years maybe more in various parts of the world. It dosnt matter if she tested neg anyway, that's no excuse to do it without a johny. If she was infected in the past 6 weeks she will not test positive anyway due to it being during the window period.

          I'm not saying HIV dosnt suck, its seriously a fucker for those people with it. I do not have it myself but I am pretty well clued up on it. It's a shame many people are not and take such a Daily Mail attitude to it.

          1. LinkOfHyrule
            Happy

            Re: What a lovely end to the perfect night.

            I'm not an IT guy either, I just like this site for the shit they come out with! Like HIV testing DVD players!

            1. Danny 14
              Gimp

              Re: What a lovely end to the perfect night.

              "You should be assuming anyone you pick up is completely riddled with all sorts and play safe"

              I grew up in the north east. Pretty much a given with the sorts I was left with (it has been said I have a face for radio).

  17. James12345

    This could be an amazing development

    Imagine how useful this would be in the less developed parts of the world - being able to bang out a testing device for a few hundred $s would make this universally affordable and could revolutionise HIV treatment and prevenion in the parts of the world that need it most.

    If an actual product is finally released, it must be up for some sort of Noble award?

    1. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
      Childcatcher

      Re: This could be an amazing development

      Don't focus only on HIV/AIDS. This equipment is not limited to a single test and is very affordable. That is the big news in this story, not its potential to improve HIV/AIDS treatment.

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: This could be an amazing development

        "Microfluidics combined with DVD technology offers promising alternative for simple, fast and reliable

        diagnostics in a global health setting. In this work, we have developed an optical disc-based platform for analysis of biological samples by converting a low-cost DVD drive into a scanning laser microscope."

        Obviously, many other applications, HIV testing is probably just to grab the headlines...

  18. storner

    For HIV-tests, you already have much simpler tools: The OraQuick test-kit only requires a mouth swab - $40 at the company's own website. And FDA approved; http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm310545.htm

    1. Danny 14

      but this does a little more than "mm possibly" this unit is a flow cytometry unit which is capable of doing the NEXT test.

      So for $200 you can have many many $40 tests.

  19. Ted Treen
    Coat

    Not needed...

    ...for married couples.

    The favoured position for married couples is "Doggy style"

    Husband - sits up and begs...

    Wife - rolls over and plays dead...

  20. nuclearstar

    Or

    Just wear protection

    1. Danny 14
      Stop

      Re: Or

      sure that helps when testing all the people who have been raped in conflict zones, or who have come out of abusive relationships.

      A $200 multi use unit will do wonders for a travelling doctor + small team in Africa.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Remind me to Google this article a month from now

    There's big money in the medical business; enough to make stories like this one disappear (not to mention leave people discredited). I'll take my tinfoil hat off later.

    1. Danny 14

      Re: Remind me to Google this article a month from now

      unfortunately (as someone else has already said) it will never get medical approval so whilst it will work as a technicality it wont be legal as a primary result.

  22. chiller

    Ahhhhh "Lab-on-DVD" misread it - thought it was a porno.

  23. David Kelly 2

    Is it Mac compatible? :-)

    Also, I don't think they purchased the pictured metal enclosure for only $200, including silkscreening.

  24. Michael Dunn
    Meh

    But...

    So one could assemble this modified drive plus microcontroller plus software for a couple of hundred dollars. Look at the original article. Did you notice how the authors described the preparation of the disks? The test kit may be $200, but I should think the disks wi9ll be up to $50 each, and would be 'use once only' since later or further uses would suffer from contamination from previous uses.

  25. lukewarmdog
    Joke

    Cheap discs

    Presumably they can just use old copies of Bon Jovi's Living on a Prayer

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