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Microfluidic

Materials

Plant-inspired material becomes a liquid-wicking straw when wet

When it comes to hazardous fluids, the less that researchers have to lean in close and finely manipulate them, the better. It was with this in mind that scientists at the Australian National University recently developed a new material that does something special when exposed to liquid – it rolls itself into a straw-like tube, which the liquid is then propelled through.Read More

Medical

Kidney-on-a-chip may save lives

Because they filter our blood, our kidneys are particularly susceptible to damage from toxins in our bloodstream. That's why kidney failure can occur when people are given too high a dosage of certain medications. So, how do drug developers know how much is safe? Typically, it's through animal testing, although University of Michigan researchers have now developed something that could be more accurate – a "kidney-on-a-chip."Read More

Health & Wellbeing

Thumb ring diagnoses sexually-transmitted diseases

Although most people with multiple sexual partners know that being checked for STDs is the responsible thing to do, many don’t do so because of the stigma associated with going to the clinic. That’s why a Silicon Valley-based startup has developed the Hoope ring. It’s worn on the thumb, and can reportedly diagnose diseases such as syphilis, gonorrhoea, chlamydia and trichomoniasis in less than a minute.Read More

Medical

Heart-on-a-chip beats a steady rhythm

The growing number of biological structures being grown on chips in various laboratories around the world is rapidly replicating the entire gamut of major human organs. Now one of the most important of all – a viable functioning heart – has been added to that list by researchers at the University of California at Berkeley (UC Berkeley) who have taken adult stem cells and grown a lattice of pulsing human heart tissue on a silicon device.Read More

Mobile Technology

Phorm adds a disappearing tactile keyboard guide to the iPad mini

Three years ago, California-based startup Tactus Technology unveiled a pretty nifty prototype – it was a touchscreen which featured clear round buttons that could rise up over top of the characters on a mobile device's virtual keyboard, giving users the tactile sensation of using a physical keyboard. When not needed, however, those buttons flattened down and the screen became entirely smooth again. Now, that prototype has become a product known as Phorm, designed for use with all versions of the iPad mini. Read More

Medical

Sweat-analyzing skin patch could replace blood sampling

Nobody likes having blood samples drawn. What's more, such samples typically have to be analyzed in a lab before they're able to tell us anything. Now, however, scientists at the University of Cincinnati and the US Air Force Research Laboratory are developing a system in which a Band-Aid-like skin patch is able to gather and transmit medical data in almost real time, by analyzing the patient's sweat ... and you just need a smartphone to read it, no poking or prodding required. Read More

Science

Building lab-on-chip devices could soon be like playing with Lego

With their ability to guide and analyze tiny quantities of liquid, microfluidic "lab-on-chip" devices have found use in everything from seawater desalination to explosives detection to the viewing of viruses. Each time a new type of device is created, however, it must be built from scratch. This can be time-consuming and costly, as the fabrication of multiple prototypes is a traditional part of the trial-and-error development process. Now, however, building them may be as simple as mixing and matching prefabricated Lego-like modules. Read More

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