Sunday, March 7, 2010

Stamp-Sized Paper “Chip” Diagnoses Diseases For Just a Penny

As far as mobile, ad-hoc medical labs for developing countries go, you can’t get any more mobile or ad-hoc than something the size of a postage stamp. One Harvard University chemist has developed an ultraportable “paper” chip that can diagnose killer diseases like malaria, HIV, hepatitis, and tuberculosis for just a penny at a time. A finger prick’s worth of blood on one side of the paper, according to inventor George Whitesides, produces a colorful, tree-like pattern on the other that indicates what ails you. The surprisingly low-tech secret? Water-repellant comic-book ink.

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