NEC is working on a suitcase-sized DNA analyzer

The device will prepare DNA samples in the field for matching with DNA databases

NEC is working on a suitcase-sized DNA analyzer, which it says will be able to process samples at the scene of a crime or disaster in as little as 25 minutes.

The company said it aims to launch the device globally in 2014, and sell it for around 10 million yen, or US$120,000. It will output samples that can be quickly matched via the growing number of DNA databases worldwide.

"At first we will target investigative organizations, like police," said spokeswoman Marita Takahashi. "We will also push its use on victims of natural disasters, to quickly match samples from siblings and parents."

NEC hopes to use research and software from its mature fingerprint and facial matching technology, which have been deployed in everyday devices such as smartphones and ATMs.

The company said that the need for cheaper and faster DNA testing became clear in the aftermath of the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami that devasted much of Japan's northeast coastline last year, when authorities performed nearly 20,000 samples.

NEC pointed to growing databases such as CODIS (Combined DNA Index System) in the U.S. and a Japanese database of DNA samples.

The company said it is aiming to make the device usable for those with minimal training, requiring only a cotton swab or small blood sample. NEC aims to make a device that weighs around 35 kilograms, measuring 850 millimeters by 552mm by 240mm, about the size of a large suitcase. The unit will run on a 12V power source.

NEC said it will be able to complete three-stage analysis process using a "lab on a chip" process, a term for for technology that recreates lab processes on chip-sized components. The basic steps for analysis include extracting DNA from samples, amplifying the DNA for analysis, and then separating out the different DNA strands.

The current version of the analyzer takes about an hour for all three tasks, and NEC said it aims to lower that to 25 minutes.

NEC it is carrying out the development of the analyzer together with partners including Promega, a U.S. biotechnology firm, and is testing it with a police science research institute in Japan.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags governmentNECpopular scienceindustry verticalshealth care

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jay Alabaster

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?