An Aray Story

Aray Develops Software for Antimicrobial Susceptibility Testing

ARAY recently developed software for an antimicrobial susceptibility testing system, for use in microbiology laboratories. This required the capture and analysis of petri dish images.

Large petri dish

Hardware Innovations

Instead of using the traditional expensive hardware of a video camera, with frame grabber, lighting and specially designed hardware, our hardware design partners designed a system using as standard off the shelf PC and scanner. Although the scanner required special hardware (such as a case, as drawer and petri dish inserts) the hardware costs are less than one fifth of the costs of traditional hardware.

Tight Time Scales

ARAY developed the software through close co-operation with our customer and our hardware design partners. Within three months a system was developed that proved the principle would work. Within six months the system was ready for laboratory trials. Within one year the product was ready for launch.

ARAY Provides Effective Solutions to Problems

The main problems solved by ARAY during the software development include:

Problem: Image manipulation, analysis and display.
Solution: Use off the shelf software components. System developed using Windows 98, Visual Basic 6, Access 97, and Excel 97.

Problem: Need to visualise zone-sizing data.
Solution: Send data to Excel spreadsheet, which plots it and prototype zone sizing calculations.

Problem: Accurate measuring of zone sizes
Solution: Developed innovative algorithms that cater for the wide image variations.

Problem: User needs to set zone sizes under extreme conditions.
Solution: User can click and drag zone to required size.

Anti-microbial disk close-up on the petri dish

Problem: Commercial Optical Character Recognition package not good enough to recognise small(5 points) characters.
Solution: Implement OCR algorithm using Neural Net

Problem: Need to ensure images not mixed up.
Solution: Develop algorithm to find and read bar code on images.

Problem: Need to test the system in Laboratories.
Solution: Incremental delivery, with quick software updates. Trials database

Problem: Need to interface with other software.
Solution: Interface done with one month of receiving database schema.

close up of anitmicrobial disk

Software Features

This project used the latest hardware and software technologies. The main features of the software include:

Automated image capture
Control scanner settings and scanning from within program.

Image display
Including Zoom and user control of lighting

Image Analysis
Performing calculations on parts of the image; Barcode reading; Optical Character recognition; Excel spreadsheets calculations prototyping, plots of image data

Scanner settings; Images; Algorithm coefficients; Results; Interface with Access database of another program

User Interface
Easy to learn and use, with tool tips; various reports; Automated backup; Help screens

barcode reading of petri dish

ARAY succeeds in technically challenging projects

ARAY specialise in developing software for instrumentation. These are usually technically challenging projects on the leading edge of technology, requiring new algorithms, complex calculations as well as the routine databases and user interface features.

Where required we work with our hardware design partners, who have over 30 years experience in designing and producing products involving mechanics, optics, fluidics and electronics. Projects we have collaborated on include urine screening instrument, clinical chemistry analyser and machine tool control. Together we succeed in providing effective automated solutions.

Aura Image Screen Capture

Aray Develops Software for Antimicrobial Susceptibility Testing

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