Rafael Hoekstra

REDESIGNING CHEMICAL ANALYSIS: TRANSDUCING INFORMATION FROM CHEMICAL INTO DIGITAL

This thesis posits that distributed chemical sensing networks will be beneficial tools towards our greater health outcomes as humans, as well as in guiding us in our self-determined role as custodians over the ecological sphere. A perspective of infusing design elements and approaches into analytical tools is shared.
The work begins with an introduction presenting a vision of how chemical sensors fit within the greater contexts of biology, history, and technology. The second chapter provides some background to the underlying scientific and technological methods and principles on which this work stands. This is followed by a critical review of the academic advances towards distributed electrochemical sensors, which divides the problem into three aspects of appropriate performance, intuitive usability, and affordability. Amongst these, usability is identified as the principal bottleneck in the widespread adoption of user-centered chemical sensors.
The subsequent chapters offer some responses to the challenges, in the form of original experimental work. While rooted in analytical electrochemistry, the work is approached with a design methodology, with iterations of analysis and synthesis embedded in the ideation process.
Concluding statements reflect on the work as a small part in a burgeoning revolution of the chemical information age; as a minor crack in the dam holding back a flood of diagnostic chemical data with unforeseeable, yet positive and revolutionary consequences.

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