ok this was definitely not the thread to post and then go to sleep on. Some updates: Naomi Wu makes the very good point that the accuracy of tests in the lab is way higher than in the field, due to misreading tests:
Pregnancy tests are 99% accurate in the lab, 75% accurate in the wild due to misreads- mistakes which are highly dependant on education and socioeconomic status. No, it is not stupid or wasteful to use a hardware interface to help women with this. archive.is/20081206110632/ar…Show this thread
So while this type of digital test may be exactly as sensitive as the non-digital kind (because they're the same test strips), by having the computer do the reading, you can take out a lot of that user error, as well as eliminating issues like different lighting conditions
So calling it "exactly as sensitive" was a bad way for me to phrase it: it's technically "as sensitive" because it's the same strips... but it implies the whole system is just as accurate, which is not true. It's going to be far easier to misread a analog test than a digital one.
Anyway, one other thing that was pointed out in a reply: The test strips probably have to go through a length FDA certification process, so it probably made sense to build the device around a standard test strip, as it'd be prohibitively expensive to certify a separate device
Oh and one neat thing in the Naomi Wu thread that was interesting: How the indicator paper works, and why they can't just make it say "YES" when you pee on it:
The lines are actually antibodies attached to small gold particles. They fix to hormones in the piss, and are carried until an area where another line of antibody capture the hormones, and the gold-antibody conjugate.
One example of the latter is the disease chytridiomycosis, spread by the fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis. It was only found in africa, and then spread to north america through the pregnancy test frogs. nature.com/news/pregnancy-te…
Pregnancy test helped to bring frog-killing...
Nature - Imported African animals released into the wild spread chytridiomycosis.nature.com
So it's something to keep in mind for the future, when I'm talking about things like this which stray outside of my usual "some weird/old computer thing" teardowns. This one definitely has wider social implications I should have thought more about before tweeting as usual.