Bright Machines and Diagnostics for the Real World (DRW) have partnered to automate the manufacturing of HIV testing equipment.

DRW’s simple amplification based assay (SAMBA) diagnostic platforms are developed specifically for resource-limited settings and offer point-of-care solutions to test patients’ blood for the presence of HIV. The toaster-sized devices use a small volume of blood from a finger or heel prick and can provide a diagnosis.

The company will now use a Bright Machines Microfactory to automate the manufacturing of the test cartridges used in its SAMBA II diagnostic device.

The partnership will enable DRW to free its team from the repetitive, labour-intensive product assembly and inspection process, reducing assembly labour costs by 75%. The company said it plans to increase its output of the cartridges tenfold to over one million units a year, as automated production reduces assembly time from two minutes to just 20 seconds per unit.

DRW founder and CEO Dr Helen Lee said: “Our devices impact the lives of hundreds of thousands of people who otherwise wouldn’t have access to centralised testing. Bright Machines is helping us quickly scale our production capacity to make our products even more accessible to remote areas.”

Bright Machines’ software-defined manufacturing connects individual machines to an automated software layer to configure, monitor and manage operations. The robotic systems take advantage of machine learning and computer vision to deliver an efficient assembly process.

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Clinics using DRW’s SAMBA devices rely on the affordability and availability of test cartridges to ensure fast, accurate diagnosis and disease management. Using Bright Machines’ Microfactory will allow DRW to better serve its existing customer base and broaden its reach to resource-limited settings where access to advanced medical care is both limited and expensive.

Bright Machines CEO Amar Hanspal said: “At Bright Machines, solving big, real-world problems is core to our mission. We admire Diagnostics for the Real World for the important work they’re doing, and we’re proud to partner with them in their mission to scale their groundbreaking HIV testing technology to areas of the world that need it most.”