Medical Diagnostics

Turning toys into tools

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Science  24 Mar 2017:
Vol. 355, Issue 6331, pp. 1278
DOI: 10.1126/science.355.6331.1278-b

Getting medical diagnostic tools to areas in developing countries with few resources has always been a considerable challenge. Bhamla et al. have created a centrifuge mostly made of paper, which they call the “paperfuge.” It is cheap to make, lightweight, and easy to operate, without any need for electricity. Based on the mechanical theory of an old whirligig toy, this device can spin blood samples at speeds of 125,000 rpm and achieve centrifugal forces of 30,000g. Researchers are thus able to separate plasma from blood in less than 1.5 min. This time is adequate for initial anemia diagnosis, but isolation of malaria parasites needs around 15 min. The device is customizable and opens up many opportunities for easy-to-access blood diagnostics.

Nat. Biomed. Eng. 1, 0009 (2017).

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