Fluorobot has been selected for H2020 SME EU Funding, in first round of calls.

Fluorobot, the world’s only dedicated robotic microscope for TB screening, managed by Consultask in collaboration with technology partner ASK-M Ltd and Ateknea Solutions, has been selected for H2020 SME EU Funding, in first round of calls.

European Comission The Fluorobot development project, now reaching mature stages, ready for independent evaluation, is among the 155 projects selected by the EU, within its  H2020 SME Instrument PHC12 Program, awarded funding for Phase I. Successful completion of Phase I. will allow the participants to submit a proposal for carrying out the validation studies in Phase II.

An unexpectedly high number of proposals (2666) have been submitted to this new H2020 SME instrument, directly accessible for innovative SMEs, where the first cut-off date of PHC12 Program Call was mid June.

H2020 SME instrument Phase 1

In-line with EU objectives, the decision and the process of concluding the contract are considerably speeded up. Of the 2602 projects that met the formal requirements, 155 were preselected to be offered financing in the totality of 11 topics. It is worthwhile to note, that Fluorobot is the only Biomarker and Medical Device project that  passed threshold, from the new member states. In this topic, only 11 countries have submitted successful proposals, 10 being EU member states.

It is a particular honor for us, and a very important feedback concerning the importance and credibility of the project, that Fluorobot is among the mere 24 projects in this chapter, reaching the required threshold and qualified feasible for funding.

Analysis of proposals by topic

Hungary has submitted 166 proposals, and 3 were accepted for financing, 1 in this Program, 1 in the Food and 1 in the Low Carbon program. The only Hungarian Diagnostic project that was successful is Fluorobot, submitted by our technology partner ASK-M, in collaboration with our partner Ateknea Solutions, highly experienced in innovation management and EU funded projects.

Projects pre-selected by topic

As the EU has commented this first decision of the SME instrument, the reason for being very selective was that only the “champions of innovation” can succeed.

On the occasion of this remarkable success, we would like to thank all the contributors of the project for the hard work during these past years, especially our technology partner ASK-M, and our innovation management partner Ateknea Solutions. We welcome that in the new 7 years budget period, the EU has introduced such accessible and fast moving instruments for R&D and Innovation funding, as this SME Instrument. We believe the best return we can promise is introducing Fluorobot on the market soon!

The „Tata Nano” approach confirmed

The „Tata Nano” approach confirmed again in an interesting article in the „European Medical Device Technology” 2014 Article.

A recent article, by Thomas Klein, in the EMDT Spring Issue, p.:8, with the title „What MedTech Manufacturers Need to Copy from Chinese and Indian Companies”, confirms and strengthens further our conviction, that the frugal approach we are following in our development, is the future path for reaching markets such as India and China, with medical device technology, in the 21st Century.

As we communicated in the past years, we strongly believe that the right approach is not „stripping down” sophisticated products developed for the developed countries to succeed in conquering the fast growing third world medical device market. On the contrary, the „frugal engineering” concept of achieving more with less, is going to be the right approach.

This is why our highest priorities throughout the development of  Fluorobot, the only dedicated robotic microscope for TB screening in the world, has been from the beginning:

  • Affordability
  • Robustness (to withstand extreme temperature, humidity, shock, etc. conditions)
  • Small footprint (due to space restrictions in distant microscopy centers)
  • Use of off-the-shelf subassemblies as much as possible (instead of expensive, dedicated developments, or costly general purpose components such as high quality microscopes)
  • Ease of use, ergonomics (self explanatory User Interface for example)
  • Maintainability

In one of our most recent presentations we have prepared for a discussion, we took the liberty to formulate our wish to become the „Tata Nano of TB Screening” (as mentioned in this blog earlier), and visualize it in our own way:

fluonanoOne of the most interesting examples quoted in the article, is an ECG device, developed by GE in an R&D Centre in India, using a bus ticket printer and a telephone component keypad. As a result, the cost of the device is less then a tenth of the models available in developed countries.

We hope to live up to these markets’, and our own, expectations, and arrive to the market soon, with Fluorobot in huge quantities, with its original, frugal, dedicated design, and its cost targeted to be considerably below a setup assembled from commercially available components from the rich world.

Donát Kiss

Fluorobot shown publicly at the 44th International Conference on Lung Health in Paris


Fluorobot – the world”s only dedicated robotic microscope for TB screening – shown publicly at the 44th International Conference on Lung Health in Paris, with huge success and live response.

Fluorobot, being a unique innovation in automating smear microscopy and introducing reproducability, standardisation and archiving possibilities for telediagnosis, QC and archiving, has been exhibited by ConsultASK at the 44th World Conference on Lung Health, held in Paris from the 30th October to the 3rd November, at the Palais des Congres in Paris.


The visitors at the booth have confirmed the conviction of the development team, concerning the necessity and room for such an instrument on the TB diagnosis market. Especially now, that the access to diagnosis and treatment is still representing a huge challenge to the stakeholders of this society, and the long term role of microscopy has been repeatedly confirmed by professionals. As it has been stated earlier in a publication, „ For better or worse Microscopy is to stay”. And we have been busy during the past years to deliver the „better” solution to the problem, which has been appreciated by all visitors at the booth.

The need for increasing the accuracy, reproducability and Quality Control capability of smear microscopy is further accentuated with the difficulties and sustainability of rolling out highly accurate but costly new technologies, conformly to earlier expectations – as it has been heard in several sessions during the conference. Not only could it be stated, that the role of microscopy was strengthened during the conference, but the fact that we could hear announcements and see different approaches from other teams, to solve the same problem, proves that there are a number of efforts worldwide, believing in the potential of such an instrument.

Fluorobot, has the best chances of succeeding to be rolled out in reasonable quantities to this market being the only dedicated robotic solution, affordable, robust and with a remarkably small footprint. These major guidelines, followed during the „frugal engineering” process followed by the development team, were highly appreciated by potential end users, coming from the targeted high burden, low-income settings.


Highly recognised members of the scientific and medical community, some of whom were familiar with earlier phases of the project, have acknowledged with satisfaction the fact that we have managed to bring the project this far, one step from the final product in its actual state.


We would like to express our special thanks to Dr. Ákos Somoskövi, from the Zurich University Swiss National Reference Laboratory and Dr. Sabine Ruesch-Gerdes, Head of the German National Reference Laboratory in Borstel, who have both contributed invaluable help to the project, during the whole process, in the past 4 years.

As we have communicated earlier, our first independent validation study is under way, and is expected to deliver results before the end of the year. With the guidance of Dr. Ruesch-Gerdes and Dr. Somoskövi we have started planning the next independent huge sample validation study, in a Central European National Reference Laboratory, to be started right after the running one.

The exhibited technology has also captured the interest of a number of participants, who have not been familiar with the project earlier, and will hopefully lead to a high number of applicants who would like to see it rolled out in their environment. We have initiated promising negotiations with some major players of the TB Diagnostic market, and have also entered into discussions potentially leading to new partnership arrangements.

We would like to express our thanks to all visitors who have taken the time to stop by, and to all advices, participation offers in studies and offers including the instrument in field studies. We hope to deliver soon and fulfill all expectations outlined during the fruitful discussions.

FLUOROBOT prototype !!!
To be exhibited at IUATLD meeting in Paris, 30th October – 3rd. November


The current prototype of the revolutionary Fluorobot device, will be exhibited at the International Union against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease 44th World Conference on Lung Health, to be held at the Palais des Congres, in Paris, from the 30th of October through to the 3rd of November.

As this is the most important meeting of TB specialists worldwide, we considered it important to show the current state of the project, even if we are not at the end product yet. As we have received considerable help from organizations (FIND for example) and specialists of the field, throughout the development, we are keen to learn the feedback of the TB society, especially of those members, who are not aware of this project.

On a dedicated small booth, Booth No. 1#, we will be showing the prototype and listening to all useful remarks we are eager to collect from specialists, end-users, companies, potential cooperating partners, etc.

Usability and advantages of LED based fluorescence microscopy over brightfield microscopy

FW3_7aSensitivity of LED driven microscopy being superior to brightfield microscopy being reconfirmed in recent pubblication by the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease

A new publication, just appeared int he latest PHA (Public Health Action) of September 2013., confirms again the usability and advantages of LED based fluorescence microscopy over brightfield microscopy.  

To read the whole article, click here

In this large scale study conducted in 2001 Medical Schools in India, where LED-FM has been recently introduced, the sensitivity over a huge sample (almost a quarter million suspects) from the same period is showing an almost 20% increase in sensitivity.

Although the study is not done ont he same samples exactly, and there is no culture gold-standard comparison, given the high numbers, and the significant increase in positive findings, is a good estimate indicator of increased sensitivity.

This communication further strengthens the conviction of ConsultASK, that our Fluorobot project has a huge potential, in high burden and workload settings.

the „Tata Nano of TB Diagnosis”

FLUOROBOT the „Tata Nano of TB Diagnosis”. An axample of Frugal Engineering. (Notes from the CEO)

A book review has struck my eyes a few weeks ago, in a medtech newsletter, that I receive regularly and find very useful. It appeared on the occasion of a book published recently by Peter Blair Henry: „Third World Lessons for First-World Medical Technology” 

The reason why I am glad that this topic hits the Medical Technology Industry (which in developed markets was rather „spoilt” earlier, with high budget institutional buyers) is because that is exactly what we followed in the Fluorobot development process

The author of this article – Norbert Sparrow, author of many thoughtful publications in medtech subjects – also quotes a panel discussion, with Carlos Ghosn among others, the „father” of the Frugal Engineering.

If you become hooked on about this engineering philosophy, as I have become since we restarted the Fluorobot project, you may find earlier publications very instructive, such as „The Importance of Frugal Engineering” by Vikas Sehgal, Kevin Dehoff and Gamesh Pamneer, which you may find in „Strategy-Business”  .

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