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Microfluidic

A team of researchers from MIT, Pennsylvania State University and Carnegie Mellon University has announced key improvements to its acoustic wave-harnessing cell sorting method unveiled last year. The device, which is intended for use in the detection of cancer cells in the bloodstream, is now able to obtain accurate results from a patient sample in as little as five hours. Read More
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
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
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
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
Researchers from MIT, Carnegie Mellon University and Pennsylvania State University have developed a novel technique of separating cells with the use of a gentle sound wave. The technique could potentially be used to screen a patient's blood, allowing medical practitioners to isolate rare tumor cells synonymous with diseases such as cancer. Read More
Two years ago, we first heard about how scientists at Rhode Island's Brown University were developing a biochip for detecting very low concentrations of glucose in saliva. Such a device could make life much easier for diabetics, as it would save them from having to perform fingerprick blood tests. At the time, it was limited to detecting glucose in water. Now, however, it's able to do so within a mixture of water, salts and select enzymes – also known as artificial saliva. Read More
Researchers in Houston have developed a cost effective method for printing living cells, claiming almost a 100 percent survival rate. The method, which is akin to a modern version of ancient Chinese wood block printing, allow cells to be printed on any surface and in virtually any two dimensional shape. And while current inkjet printers adapted to print living cells can cost upwards of US$10,000 with a cell survival rate of around 50 percent, this simple new technique could see the cell stamps produced for around $1. Read More
Figuring out how much medication a patient should be taking can be a tricky business. Although things like age and weight are used as guidelines, factors such as the individual person's metabolism can have a marked effect on how effective the drugs are. With that in mind, scientists at the University of California, Santa Barbara have developed an implantable device that provides continuous real-time readings on how much medication is currently in a person's bloodstream. Read More
Although various alternative technologies are being developed, the large-scale desalination of seawater typically involves forcing it through a membrane that allows the water to pass through, but that traps the salt. These membranes can be costly, they can get fouled, and powerful pumps are required to push the water through. Now, however, scientists from the University of Texas at Austin and Germany’s University of Marburg are taking another approach. They’ve developed a chip that separates salt from water. Read More
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