US 3876379 A
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United States Patent Ghim Apr. s, 1915 Primary Examiner-R. E. Serwin Attorney, Agent. or Firm-John E. Toupal  Inventor: Duk K. Ghim, 150 2nd St.,
Framingham, Mass. 0170] 22 Filed: July 25, 1973 [571 ABSTRACT Blood agglutination testing apparatus including conlzl] Appl 382568 tainer slides with a plurality of separate compartmerits, each compartment for receiving a blood sam-  US. Cl. 23/259; 23/253 R; 23/230 B; ple and reagents. A movably mounted support re- 356/39 ceives the slides and is coupled to a drive system for [5 l] Int. Cl Gllln 33/16 simultaneously producing movement in a plurality of  Field of Search 23/230 B, 253 R, 259; directions to mix the blood samples and reagents. The 356/39; 259/83, 56 drive system includes both a rotational drive system and a reciprocating drive system. The slides are pref-  References Cited erably light transmissive and a light under the slides UNlTED STATES PATENTS provides illumination for detecting agglutination and a 3 463 614 8/1969 Leslie .1 23/253 x heater in Support selectively heals cavities- 3.488,l56 [H970 Good et ul. 3.6l7.222 11/1971 Matte 23/230 R 6 Draw F'gum 59 54 f2 2 T: i m i 76 M ,l i m N 6 57 I i 72 0 66 0 M72 :1
| r 73 65 K3 632 I zw'tzritztm we SHLEI 1 OF 3 FIG.
BLOOD AGGLUTINATION TESTING APPARATUS BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to blood testing devices and, more particularly, to automatic blood testing devices that provide proper agitation of blood samples and reagents.
Automatic blood testing devices for performing various blood tests are known. However, these are generally very sophisticated, complex and expensive machines and are, consequently, employed in only the largest hospitals and blood banks. Smaller institutions generally still utilize laborious and time consuming manual techniques.
It is, therefore, an object of this invention to provide an automated blood testing apparatus at a cost low enough to bring it within the reach of small institutions.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION This invention is characterized by a blood agglutination testing apparatus comprising a support that supports a slide which receives a blood sample and reagent. The support is movably mounted and is coupled to a drive system that selectively causes rotational and reciprocal motion to properly mix and agitate the blood sample and reagent during blood tests. Preferably, the slide defines a plurality of cavities so that a plurality of tests can be carried out simultaneously. A vibrator is coupled directly to the support and provides the reciprocal motion. The vibrator is mounted on a base plate which is coupled to another plate and a motor by a plurality of eccentric arms which cause the vibrator to move in a rotational eccentric path. In addition, a timer can be included in the apparatus to automatically time tests. Consequently, there is provided a simple, inexpensive blood agglutination testing apparatus that permits small institutions to utilize automatic mixing and agitation of blood samples during blood tests and thus to realize improved reliability and repeatibility of results.
A feature of the apparatus is the inclusion of a support that can accommodate a plurality of slides of different shapes and sizes. Thus, more versatility is provided in the apparatus inasmuch as the various slides can be tailored for maximum efficiency in specific types of blood tests.
Another feature of the invention is the inclusion of light transmissive slides and a built-in light source below the support so that the presence or absence of agglutination can rapidly be determined. Furthermore, a heating system is provided to selectively heat those cavities that require an elevated or regulated temperature during the agitation process.
DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS These and other features and objects of the present invention will become more apparent upon a perusal of the following description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings wherein:
FIG. I is a plan view of one preferred blood sample receiving slide;
FIG. 2 is a sectional view of the slide shown in FIG. I taken along the line 22 in FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a plan view of an alternate slide embodiment;
FIG. 4 is an isometric view of the blood testing apparatus;
FIG. 5 is an exploded view of the vibrator and support mechanisms; and
FIG. 6 is an elevational sectional view of the interior of the apparatus showing the rotational drive system.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS Referring first to FIGS. 1 and 2 there is shown a container slide 21 defining a plurality of cavities 22 with generally spherical side walls 23 and substantially planar lower surfaces 24. The slide 21 is preferably made of a transparent or translucent plastic material and is utilized in performing blood tests in conjunction with the subject apparatus as explained below and includes indicia 25 to indicate the tests being performed.
Referring now to FIG. 3 there is shown another embodiment of a slide 26 defining a plurality of cavities 27. The slide 26 also includes indicia 28 to indicate the test being performed. As will be described below, the slide 26 is used in conjunction with the subject blood agglutination testing apparatus.
Referring now to FIG. 4 there is shown an isometric view of a blood agglutination testing apparatus 31 in eluding a movably mounted support 32 defining a plurality of guide slots 33, wherein each slot is adapted for supporting one of the slides 2I. Furthermore, a central opening 34 is divided into a plurality of areas by guides 35 so that from one to three of the slides 26 can be accommodated.
The support 32 is coupled to a drive system (to be described below) that causes movement in a plurality of directions. The front panel of the apparatus 31 includes a main power switch 36 and a timer 37 to selectively energize the drive system. The speed at which the support 32 moves in its rotational mode is selected by a control 38. A light source under the support (to be described below) is controlled by a switch 39 and reciprocating motion of the support 32 is controlled by a switch 41. Under the slots 33 are heater wires 42 that heat and stabilize the temperature of some of the cavities 22 in the slide 21. The heater wires 42 are selectively energized by a heater switch 43. Obviously, any reaction requiring an elevated or stabilized temperature is run in one of the cavities 22 that is disposed over a heater wire 42. If the cavities over the heater wires 42 do not need special temperature treatment. the switch 43 is left in the off" position.
Referring now to FIG. 5 there is shown an exploded view of the support 32 divided into a guide plate SI, a light transmissive base plate 52 and the guides 35. The heater wires 42 are retained in the base plate 52. The guide plate 51 and the base plate 52 are laminated and affixed to two parallel arms 53 on a support 54 which defines a slot 55. A reciprocating vibrator 56 is mounted on a vibrator plate 57 and a vibrating member 58 receives two screws 59. The screws 59 pass through the slot 55 to affix the support 54 to the vibrator 56. The character of the vibration is dependent on a spring 61 and an adjustment screw 62. The vibrator 56 is activated when the switch 4l (FIG. 4) is moved to the "on" position.
Referring now to FIG. 6 there is shown a sectional view of the apparatus 31. A housing 61 supports a rigid plate 62 therein. A rotating drive motor 63 is disposed below the plate 62 and is activated when the switch 36 and the timer 37 (FIG. 4) are suitably activated. A set of bevel gears 64 translates the rotational motion to a vertical shaft 65 that passes through the plate 62. A drive arm 66 is secured to the shaft 65 by a set screw 67 and supports, spaced apart a preselected distance from the shaft 65, a releasable drive pin 68 that is biased in an upward direction by a spring 69. The upper end of the pin 68 rests in a detent 71 formed in the vibrator plate 57. Supporting the vibrator plate 57 are four eccentrics 72, two of which are visible in FIG. 6. The eccentrics 72 comprise lower pins 73 and. spaced apart therefrom by a preselected distance, upper pins 74. The lower pins 73 interact with the base plate 62 and the upper pins 74 interact with the vibrator plate 57. It will be appreciated that the pins 73 are rotatably retained in the plate 62 and the pins 74 are rotatably retained in the plate 57 and that the spacing between the pins 73 and 74 is equal to the spacing between the shaft 65 and the drive pin 68. Therefore, when the motor 63 is activated and the shaft 65 turns, the vibrator plate 57 and thus the support 31 move in an eccentric path wherein all points on the support 32 move in eccentric circular paths having a radius equal to the spacing between each pair of pins 73 and 74. Thus. the individual cavities 22 move in that manner forcing their liquid sample contents into a swirling motion that pro motes thorough mixing and desired particle separation. When both the motor and the vibrator are activated the vibratory reciprocating motion caused by the vibrator 56 (FIG. 5) is superimposed on the eccentric motion. Both the motor and the vibrator are responsive to the timer 37 (FIG. 4).
Also visible in FIG. 6 is a light assembly 76 for illuminating the lower surfaces of the slides 21 and 26. Another similar light is parallel to the light 76 but it is not visible in the sectional FIG. 6.
During operation of the subject apparatus 31, one or more slides 21 or 26 are placed in the support 32 and blood samples are deposited in the cavities or 27. The appropriate reagents are added to the cavities and the power switch 36 is turned on. The rotational speed is set utilizing the speed control 38 and the time required for mixing is set by adjusting the timer 37. If necessary. the heater switch 43 and the reciprocate switch 41 are activated. lf. during operation, the motion of the support 32 becomes restricted, the drive pin 68 separates from the detent 71 and the apparatus 31 is unharmed. Following the preselected time, the timer 37 expires and motion stops. At that time. the light switch 39 is turned on to illuminate the samples from below so that any agglutination can be detected.
Obviously, many modifications and variations of the present invention are possible in light of the above teachings. It is to be understood, therefore, that the invention can be practiced otherwise than as specifically described.
What is claimed is:
1. Blood agglutination testing apparatus comprising:
container means for receiving liquid mixtures of a blood sample and a test reagent;
movably mounted support means for receiving said container means;
drive means coupled with said support means and adapted to simultaneously produce movement thereof in a plurality of component directions such that individual points on said container move in eccentric annular paths to induce swirling motion of said liquid mixture; and
power means for actuating said drive means.
2. Apparatus according to claim 1 wherein said drive means comprises rotation drive means and eccentric means for producing eccentric movement of said support means in a horizontal plane.
3. Apparatus according to claim 2 wherein said eccentric means comprises releasable drive means.
4. Apparatus according to claim 1 including a vibrator for superimposing reciprocating motion on the eccentric motion produced by said drive means.
5. Apparatus according to claim 1 including automatic timer means for timing blood tests performed with said apparatus.
6. Apparatus according to claim 1 wherein said container means comprises a slide having a plurality of cavities each for receiving an individual mixture of blood sample and test reagent.
7. Apparatus according to claim 6 wherein said support means comprises multiple guides adapted to re ceive a plurality of said multi cavity slides.
8. Apparatus according to claim 7 including a vibrator for superimposing reciprocating motion on the eccentric motion produced by said drive means.
9. Apparatus according to claim 7 wherein said multiple guides accommodate slides of different size.
10. Apparatus according to claim 7 wherein said slides comprise indicia for identifying specific blood tests to be performed in each of said cavities.
11. Apparatus according to claim 7 wherein said cav ities are defined by spherically shaped end walls and a substantially planar bottom wall.
12. Apparatus according to claim 7 wherein said slides are light transmissive and including light source means for directing radiant energy to the underside thereof.
13. Apparatus according to claim 7 including heater means for applying heat to a slide retained by said support means.
14. Apparatus according to claim 13 wherein said heater means is adapted to heat less than all the cavities formed in said slide.