Project Details

A new standard in drug testing

CES helped Medtox to launch their first electronic test reader to improve testing throughput and consistency.  Our teams provided full service support from design and engineering through to manufacturing and even introducing the device to market. By connecting the new product directly to the laboratory system, the device streamlines the drug-testing processes and minimizes testing inefficiencies.


When companies and caregivers are screening for drug and chemical abuse, human error can often be a problem. Prior to the advent of this device, drug tests relied on people to visually look at the colors on the test strip to determine whether or not the test is positive or negative. This raises substantial concerns about the accuracy and verifiability of drug tests. When the colors are not completely definitive, human error can occur. Medtox wanted to improve the screening process by creating a test reader that would scan the strip and deliver the results; eliminating the chance for human error. Medtox chose to partner with our design and engineering team because we were a trusted partner that would help them to increase their market share. The goal was to develop a cost effective reader platform to mitigate potential inaccuracies in the drug testing process.


From concept to market, we offered comprehensive lifecycle support. Our integrated processes helped to bring an easy-to-use, reliable instrument to market for Medtox. Development began by working with the customer to conduct user research to see how current testing products are being used. This user-centered design approach was instrumental in helping to define product requirements before moving to development.

After studying user behavior, it was determined that the device needed to use imaging technology to read the testing strip. Our mechanical and electrical engineering teams worked to integrate a camera into the scanner to provide images and pixel data which would be used to determine a positive or negative test. But, this pixel data needed to be processed within the device. Due to the high priority placed on cost effectiveness, we recommended using a softcore processor and Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA). The FPGA would provide all of the necessary processing for the device including the user interface, network connection capabilities, as well as an analysis of the pixel data from the camera. The FPGA would also be crucial in development because of its customization capabilities. Our software engineers were able to change the execution of instructions in the scanner with the FPGA; essentially creating a custom processor for the device at a much lower cost. By utilizing this technology, we were also able to reduce overall development time, helping the customer get to market faster.

The innovative product offered the additional capacity to connect directly to the laboratory information management system. By sending patient ID number and test result directly to the laboratory system, the device helps reduce processing steps to make testing easier and more efficient for technicians.

From development, our manufacturing team took over and completed board assembly for the new scanner. The manufacturing team was also commissioned to provide the box build as well depot repair.


The Medtox Scan sets a new standard for drug testing efficiency and reliability as a low cost, low maintenance product. Our team achieved the client’s desired cost savings and delivered the scanner on-time. The additional connectivity allows customers to speed processes and testing time. With this technology, Medtox can now focus on building recurring sales of testing strips and accessories. Due to the success of the product, our team was commissioned to work on the next generation of the product with new features and additional cost reductions.


Medtox is a leader in comprehensive laboratory and diagnostic testing services. Medtox offers on-site and point-of-collection testing services to physician offices, occupational health clinics, corporations, and other health care organizations and government agencies.

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Beacon EmbeddedWorks System On Modules (SOMs)

  • Project Name Scan
  • Client MEDTOX