Computational Sensing of Staphylococcus aureus on Contact Lenses Using 3D Imaging of Curved Surfaces and Machine Learning

Muhammed Veli, Aydogan Ozcan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


We present a cost-effective and portable platform based on contact lenses for noninvasively detecting Staphylococcus aureus, which is part of the human ocular microbiome and resides on the cornea and conjunctiva. Using S. aureus-specific antibodies and a surface chemistry protocol that is compatible with human tears, contact lenses are designed to specifically capture S. aureus. After the bacteria capture on the lens and right before its imaging, the captured bacteria are tagged with surface-functionalized polystyrene microparticles. These microbeads provide sufficient signal-to-noise ratio for the quantification of the captured bacteria on the contact lens, without any fluorescent labels, by 3D imaging of the curved surface of each lens using only one hologram taken with a lens-free on-chip microscope. After the 3D surface of the contact lens is computationally reconstructed using rotational field transformations and holographic digital focusing, a machine learning algorithm is employed to automatically count the number of beads on the lens surface, revealing the count of the captured bacteria. To demonstrate its proof-of-concept, we created a field-portable and cost-effective holographic microscope, which weighs 77 g, controlled by a laptop. Using daily contact lenses that are spiked with bacteria, we demonstrated that this computational sensing platform provides a detection limit of ∼16 bacteria/μL. This contact-lens-based wearable sensor can be broadly applicable to detect various bacteria, viruses, and analytes in tears using a cost-effective and portable computational imager that might be used even at home by consumers.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2554-2559
Number of pages6
JournalACS Nano
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 9 2018
Externally publishedYes


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