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A fidget spinner for the point-of-care diagnosis of urinary tract infection


The point-of-care detection of pathogens in biological samples in resource-limited settings should be inexpensive, rapid, portable, simple and accurate. Here, we describe a custom-made fidget spinner that rapidly concentrates pathogens in 1-ml samples of undiluted urine by more than 100-fold for the on-device colorimetric detection of bacterial load and pathogen identification. In Tiruchirappalli, India, the device enabled the on-site detection of infection with the naked eye within 50 min in urine samples from 39 patients suspected of having a urinary tract infection. We also show that, in 30 clinical samples of urinary tract infection, the device can be used to perform an antimicrobial susceptibility test for the antimicrobial drugs ciprofloxacin and cefazolin within 120 min. The fidget spinner could be used in low-resource settings as an inexpensive handheld point-of-care device for the rapid concentration and detection of pathogens in urine samples.

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Fig. 1: The Dx-FS as a POCT device for low-resource settings.
Fig. 2: Characterization of the fluid flow and operation of a Dx-FS.
Fig. 3: The Dx-FS as a versatile bacterial infection diagnostic platform.
Fig. 4: Proof-of-concept testing using the Dx-FS.
Fig. 5: Antimicrobial susceptibility test for clinical isolates using a Dx-FS.

Data availability

The main data supporting the findings in this study are available within the paper and its Supplementary information. The raw and analysed datasets are too numerous to be readily shared publicly but are available for research purposes from the corresponding author on reasonable request.

Code availability

The custom Matlab code for data analysis is provided at


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We thank S. Manivanan for his support in the clinical sample testing. We thank J. Oh for discussions about the modelling. This work is supported by a grant from the Institute for Basic Science of Korea (grant no. IBS-R020-D1) and the Korean Health Technology R&D Project of the Ministry of Health and Welfare (grant no. HI12C1845).

Author information




I.M., D.K. and Y.-K.C. conceived and designed the research. I.M., D.K., O.G., Sumit K., J.C., Saravana K., D.Y.K., J.P., H.Y.J. and T.S.K. performed the research. I.M., D.K., O.G., H.Y.J., S.Kwon and Y.-K.C. wrote the manuscript.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Yoon-Kyoung Cho.

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Competing interests

I.M., D.K., D.Y.K. and Y.-K.C. are inventors of a patent (10-2103784, Korea). Y.-K.C. is an inventor of a filed patent (14/780,002, USA). All other authors declare no competing interests.

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Supplementary information

Supplementary Information

Supplementary notes, figures, tables, references and video captions.

Reporting Summary

Supplementary Video 1

Commercial fidget spinner (left) and Dx-FS (right), operated by a user.

Supplementary Video 2

Urine test procedure using Dx-FS.

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Michael, I., Kim, D., Gulenko, O. et al. A fidget spinner for the point-of-care diagnosis of urinary tract infection. Nat Biomed Eng 4, 591–600 (2020).

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