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Lab on a Chip


— Science

Tiny, cheap water-sensing chip outperforms larger, pricier sensors

By - October 18, 2013 2 Pictures
Whether you're growing wine grapes or mixing cement, there are some situations in which it's vitally important to monitor moisture content. Normally water sensors are used, although these can be both large and expensive. Now, however, a team from Cornell University has created a water-sensing silicon chip that's not only tiny, but is also reportedly "a hundred times more sensitive than current devices." What's more, the chips might be possible to mass-produce for just $5 a pop. Read More
— Science

“Mini Lisa” demonstrates potential of nanomanufacturing technique

By - August 6, 2013 6 Pictures
Arguably the world’s most famous painting, da Vinci's Mona Lisa has now been copied onto the world’s smallest canvas at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Associate Professor Jennifer Curtis' "Mini Lisa" is one-third the width of a human hair, with details as small as one-eighth of a micron. Mini Lisa demonstrates the flexibility of a new nanolithography technique that can vary the surface concentration of molecules on very small portions of a substrate. Read More
— Health and Wellbeing

Spleen-on-a-chip could treat bloodstream infections

By - April 9, 2013 1 Picture
The spleen’s job is to filter our blood. When people are critically ill or have received traumatic injuries, however, the spleen alone is sometimes not able to remove enough of the pathogens on its own – potentially-fatal sepsis is the result. In order to help avert such an outcome in those situations, scientists from the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University are developing a device known as the spleen-on-a-chip. Read More
— Medical

Inexpensive card-sized device runs 50 blood tests in seconds

By - December 31, 2012 1 Picture
Ordinarily, when medical clinicians are conducting blood tests, it’s a somewhat elaborate affair. A full vial of blood must be drawn, individual portions of which are then loaded into large, expensive machines such as mass spectrometers. The results are usually quite accurate, but they’re not instantaneous, and require the services of trained personnel in a well-equipped lab. That may be about to change, however. Scientists from Houston’s Methodist Hospital Research Institute and MD Anderson Cancer Center have created a credit card-sized gadget, that can instantly check a single drop of blood for up to 50 different substances – and it costs about US$10. Read More
— Science

New microscopy technique lets scientists see live viruses in their natural habitat

By - December 30, 2012 1 Picture
Traditionally, in order to view tiny biological structures such as viruses, they must first be removed from their natural habitats and frozen. While this certainly keeps them still for the microscope, it greatly limits what we can learn about them – it’s comparable to an ichthyologist only being able to study dead fish in a lab, instead of observing live ones in the ocean. Now, however, researchers at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute have devised a technique for observing live viruses in a liquid environment. It could have huge implications for the development of treatments for viral infections. Read More
— Science

Lotus leaf inspires new diagnostic technology

By - May 14, 2012 3 Pictures
Lately we’re hearing more and more about tiny medical and environmental diagnostic devices, that can perform a variety of tests using very small fluid samples. Working with such small samples does present a challenge, however – how do you thoroughly mix tiny amounts of different fluids, or wrangle individual drops for analysis? According to a team of scientists from the University of Washington, the answer lies in the lotus leaf. Read More

Mini-lab promises affordable on-site DNA-based testing

A genetic testing mini-lab developed by researchers at the University of Alberta to set to begin commercial trials within a year. The Domino system provides a portable, cheap and powerful alternative to conventional laboratories that delivers a range of point-of-care diagnostic possibilities including tests for blood borne diseases such as malaria and those affecting farm animals. Read More
— Health and Wellbeing

Researchers create living human gut-on-a-chip

By - March 28, 2012 1 Picture
In an effort to provide a more accurate alternative to conventional cell culture and animal models, researchers at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University have developed a microdevice that mimics the structure, physiology, and mechanics of the human intestine. The so-called “gut-on-a-chip” could help provide new insights into intestinal disorders and be used to evaluate the safety and efficacy of potential treatments. Read More
— Health and Wellbeing

Lab-on-a-chip counts and sorts sperm

By - October 31, 2011 2 Pictures
While just about everyone is familiar with home pregnancy testing kits, what many of us may not realize is that a (sort of) equivalent product exists for men - home sperm count kits. These kits, however, will simply tell users if their sperm count is above or below a standard value. While a yes or no answer like that might suffice for the pregnancy kits, a little more information would definitely help a man who suspects he might be infertile. Loes Segerink, a PhD student from The Netherlands' University of Twente, hopes to change that with this prototype lab-on-a-chip device. Segerink's chip counts exactly how many sperm are present in a sample of ejaculate, and can even differentiate between the good swimmers and the duds. Read More
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