Health & Wellbeing

Thumb ring diagnoses sexually-transmitted diseases

Once perfected, the Hoope ring should be able to consistently detect four of the most common STDs
Once perfected, the Hoope ring should be able to consistently detect four of the most common STDs
View 2 Images
The Hoope ring utilizes single-use needle/lab-on-a-chip cartridges
1/2
The Hoope ring utilizes single-use needle/lab-on-a-chip cartridges
Once perfected, the Hoope ring should be able to consistently detect four of the most common STDs
2/2
Once perfected, the Hoope ring should be able to consistently detect four of the most common STDs

Although most people with multiple sexual partners know that being checked for STDs is the responsible thing to do, many don’t do so because of the stigma associated with going to the clinic. That’s why a Silicon Valley-based startup has developed the Hoope ring. It’s worn on the thumb, and can reportedly diagnose diseases such as syphilis, gonorrhoea, chlamydia and trichomoniasis in less than a minute.

Users start by using Hoope’s electric pulse generator to numb their skin. They then press a button on the ring, which causes its single-use retractable needle to come out. That needle is then used to draw a blood sample, which is carried by capillary action to the ring’s lab-on-a-chip.

There, the blood flows through four microfluidic channels, in which it’s exposed to different antigens that have been synthesized to catch antibodies associated with each of the targeted diseases. If any of those antibodies are present and thus captured, an electrochemical reaction occurs which is detected by the onboard electronics.

The Hoope then wirelessly transmits the data to an app on the user’s smartphone, which tells them what disease has been detected, and where in their community they can go for treatment.

The Hoope ring utilizes single-use needle/lab-on-a-chip cartridges
The Hoope ring utilizes single-use needle/lab-on-a-chip cartridges

A prototype has already been produced at Colorado State University, where it was shown to be very reliable at the detection of syphilis. The international team is currently working at perfecting the detection of the other three STDs, and are also looking towards adapting it for the detection of allergies, cancer, diabetes and pregnancy.

Plans call for commercial production of Hoope to be funded through an Indiegogo campaign next January, with a subsequent roll-out taking place first in Mexico and Latin America, followed by Europe and the US. It should be priced at US$50, which will include a ring and three needle/lab-on-a-chip cartridges.

Source: Investigacion y Desarrollo (Spanish)

4 comments
The Creator
I literally was thinking of a device just like this, though detecting ALL STDs. Instead of using condoms in the future, we will all just have these personal detector devices. Anytime people just want a hookup, you can instantly test each other and make sure you're all are clean. We already have effective birth control, and more work is still being done in that area.
Roger Garrett
Why did they chose a ring? This isn't something you need to wear. You use it and then you put it away until you need it again. Do they think people will have to use this day after day after day? And since you still have to use the single-use cartridges, where are you going to carry those? Plus, why does it have to communicate with a smartphone just to report what disease it has detected? With only four diseases to detect it could just as easily have for LEDs on in, one for each disease. Nope, this doesn't make sense, at least not from a packaging standpoint.
DonGateley
When one can do HIV they will have something. Any device that omits that unfortunately offers no serious screening. When it does, it will revolutionize casual and professional sex. Great start, though, and I think the tech they are using can eventually crack HIV antibody detection.
Daniel Gregory
It's not myself I worry about. It's my next potential partner. They are the unknown.