Real-time machine vision FPGA implementation for microfluidic monitoring on Lab-on-Chips

IEEE Trans Biomed Circuits Syst. 2014 Apr;8(2):268-77. doi: 10.1109/TBCAS.2013.2260338.


A machine vision implementation on a field-programmable gate array (FPGA) device for real-time microfluidic monitoring on Lab-On-Chips is presented in this paper. The machine vision system is designed to follow continuous or plug flows, for which the menisci of the fluids are always visible. The system discriminates between the front or "head" of the flow and the back or "tail" and is able to follow flows with a maximum speed of 20 mm/sec in circular channels of a diameter of 200 μm (corresponding to approx. 60 μl/sec ). It is designed to be part of a complete Point-of-Care system, which will be portable and operate in non-ideal laboratory conditions. Thus, it is able to cope with noise due to lighting conditions and small LoC displacements during the experiment execution. The machine vision system can be used for a variety of LoC devices, without the need for fiducial markers (such as redundancy patterns) for its operation. The underlying application requirements called for a complete hardware implementation. The architecture uses a variety of techniques to improve performance and minimize memory access requirements. The system input is 8 bit grayscale uncompressed video of up to 1 Mpixel resolution. The system uses an operating frequency of 170 Mhz and achieves a computational time of 13.97 ms (worst case), which leads to a throughput of 71.6 fps for 1 Mpixel video resolution.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Equipment Design
  • Microfluidic Analytical Techniques / instrumentation*
  • Microfluidic Analytical Techniques / methods*
  • Point-of-Care Systems
  • Video Recording