Email: Miklós Nyíri

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In routine diagnostics or in clinical studies the number of the sample test tubes in biological laboratories could even reach the few thousands. The administration overhead of such human or other biological sample test tubes is huge, and attracting more and more interest as the number of samples is rapidly growing. The quality control is at the same time very difficult as the paper based administration forms are held separately from the test tubes which should be usually transported and later stored in refrigerated environment.

Searching and selecting test tubes from storage racks (based on clinical status, age, sex etc.) is one of the bottlenecks of sample processing in clinical studies. Manual seeking of the test tubes is time demanding and the process obviously suffers from human errors.

Tracking the actual position and process step of the individual tubes is also a critical factor of quality assurance. Quality assurance of the sample processing had been always the most critical during the transportation, as the environmental conditions (temperature, humidity) are usually not tracked on the sample level.

The proposed innovative solution overrides the above issues (administration, search and select, tracking of test tubes) by comprising wirelessly identifiable test tubes and intelligent sample holder racks, which are together connected to a cloud based data and quality management system. Each of the RFID test tubes incorporates an embedded RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) chip to store crucial sample information and to identify the sample. The RFID chip replaces the paperwork typically submitted to laboratories with specimens, reduces the risk of errors associated with key entry and barcode application, and securely stores event data associated with the transport and processing of samples. Intelligent sample holder racks automatically register the position of the inserted sample tube and the data is transmitted to the cloud database. On database request the sample holder rack is able to mark the selected samples by a light indicator. The sample holder rack is equipped by environmental sensors (e.g. temperature) providing continuous quality assurance during transportation and storage. Sample collector sites, laboratory equipment and sample storage rooms are equipped with RFID readers to easily identify and track sample movements providing total quality assurance through the whole sample lifetime.