Out of the Mouths of Babes

By August 23, 2017 January 3rd, 2018 Articles

-Brendan O’Farrell, DCN Diagnostics

“Yyrtfgbtfr m youscuuudxzjcsfrcgfddfvrfbfcxbjihjijhixiubnjjiuhixcgrtgdxrfgcc xvccz cfffvrdf. Gf.” This apparently intriguing string was recently published on LinkedIn from my account. When it was brought to my attention, I was going to delete it, but I noticed it was getting more and more hits. Eventually it got more views than many of the things I’ve deliberately posted through the years. Replies came in to my LinkedIn account and my personal email wondering what this was a comment on and how it should be interpreted. Was it work-related or political? Some were concerned that a stroke had taken out my language center. Some thought my love of wine had finally intersected with my late-night LinkedIn posting habit. Most were confused, but all were interested to know the hidden meaning.

The less-than intriguing truth is that my 15-month-old daughter has a way with electronics. She can unlock any device, delete pretty much any application, or Facetime with her Grandad in Ireland at 3am local time. And now her first post on social media has become quite popular. I was hoping that wouldn’t happen for well over another decade. Parenting fail.  And, of course, now I’m left wondering what it means that she has gotten more hits than many of my work posts have. No need to add your opinions on that to the Comments section, thank you!

Beyond that, though, the fact that my daughter – despite our best efforts to minimize her exposure to screens in general at this stage of her life – has identified the phone as just about the most useful tool in her parents’ lives, making it about the most attractive thing to her, got me thinking again about the cell phone as a tool in our industry. Why there have been no commercial successes in applying cell phone readers (without added hardware!) to the toolbox of point of care, regulated, lateral flow based diagnostics. Why, despite years of development effort and marketing spin is there still no industry standardization of hardware or software specifications or a demonstrated, acceptable approach to calibration and validation that will be necessary for regulators to buy in to this concept for regulated medical diagnostic applications? Isn’t it time for that? Rather than a head-in-the-sand approach to this issue or an anecdotal acceptance that “this is just going to be difficult to sell to regulators so why bother”, isn’t there a need for an industry-wide discussion on this topic? I don’t pretend to have all the answers to this one, but I’m curious to understand the general temperature of the industry on this topic. Feel free to weigh in using the comments section below.

All that said, I’m comforted by the fact that so many people contacted me out of concern for my mental wellbeing when the initial post went up, courtesy of tiny hands. I’m not sure where my daughter was going with her thought process when she posted on my behalf. I’m pretty sure this wasn’t the direction she was taking things.  Most likely she was just telling me to spend less time working and come play outside.

Smart kid.


If anyone has any thoughts on the use of cell phones in LFA interpretation in regulated applications, or suggestions as to the meaning of

“Yyrtfgbtfr m you scuuudxzjcsfrcgfddfvrfbfcxbjihjijhixiubnjjiuhixcgrtgdxrfgccxvcczcfffvrdf. Gf,”

please post them in the Comments section or join us at the Advanced Lateral Flow Course in San Diego this October to discuss.