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Low-Cost Diagnostics

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Microfluidic Chip

Analytical devices can be produced at very low cost from simple materials. Applications are vast revolutionary, and include medical tests, environmental sensing, agriculture, soil science and many more. Microfluidics refers to a set of technologies that control the flow of minute amounts of liquids or gases—typically measured in nano- and picoliters — in a miniaturized system. With these "chips", room-sized diagnostic testing equipment can be shrunk down to the size of a postage stamp.

Materials and Equipment Used[edit]

consumables: blotter paper, regular paper, wax paper, shrinky-dink, transparency film, cotton thread, sewing needles, wood sticks, Jell-O, ?beeswax?,

equipment: syringes, cell phone cameras, plastic lenses for cheap microscopes,

Applications[edit]

  • medicine: immediate testing ("point-of-care"), genetic testing and research, pathogens
  • agriculture: plant breeding, pests (genetic testing), nutrition,
  • environmental sensing: water testing, air quality, toxins
  • geoscience: soil science, mining
  • materials: chemical separation and reactions
  • energy: development of biofuels

George Whitesides, Harvard University[edit]

In his legendary career in chemistry, George Whitesides has been a pioneer in microfabrication and nanoscale self-assembly. Now, he's fabbing a diagnostic lab on a chip.

Further Reading[edit]