NXP® and Explora Technologies to Help Diagnose Medical Conditions in Space


Explora Technologies leveraged NXP technology to assist the Institut National d'Optique (INO) to develop Microflow; a revolutionary bioanalytical diagnostics device that was successfully operated by Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield aboard the International Space Station (ISS).


Develop a flow cytometer that can monitor and diagnose immunological pathologies and important biomarkers of stress onsite while fulfilling the unique requirements of an orbital space environment: very compact, battery operated with minimal thermal dissipation due to ventilation constraints, and enough performance to rapidly acquire data, control the various components and provide fast and trustworthy results.


INO leveraged Explora Technologies' system-on-module solution that features NXP's i.MX51 applications processor -- a powerful yet compact device that deftly balances performance and power consumption. The i.MX51 processor runs the operating system at the heart of Explora's design and provides power for rapid data acquisition, control, and fast calculation.


Capitalizing on INO's expertise in lasers, Explora Technologies' expertise in embedded systems, and NXP's innovative technology, the microwave-sized Microflow is paving the way for advances in remote medicine. It's fully automatic, portable, and less costly to operate than previous technology, allowing for significantly faster processing of specimens, expedited diagnoses, and reduced wait times for medical treatment.

“The NXP i.MX51 applications processor balances performance, power consumption and peripheral integration. This single processor integrates the communication port, input/output and control functions in a small circuit area, while consuming less than a watt of power.“

– Harold Vachon, President, Explora Technologies

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