Design and build the control unit of a biological sample preparatory system

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Dr. Sántha Hunor
Department of Electronics Technology

The Department of Electronics Technology participated in a research and development project called ’SPE_SAFE’, the goal of which was the development of a novel sample preparatory system capable of the parallel extraction of DNA, RNA and proteins from biological samples.

A manually operated, microfluidics based sample fixing unit constitutes part of the system, enabling sample extraction and preparation in the field, then safe transportation of the samples to the laboratories responsible for the sample evaluation. To guarantee the integrity of the samples, close observation of the sample preparation protocol and the duration and conditions of transportation must be monitored.

To achieve these tasks, a microcontroller based electronic circuit was developed and integrated into the sample preparatory cartridge. The design of this circuit and the related software components constituted the subject of my thesis.

In the paper, the system design of my device is introduced first, followed by chapters detailing the steps and criterion driving the design of each hardware component. After that, the most important algorithms of the firmware running on the microcontroller are reviewed, followed by the structure and operation of the graphical user interface facilitating the evaluation of the designed circuit. Finally, the results of the characterization and validation carried out on the finished prototype are given, closing with proposals for potential opportunities for further improvements.


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