“Your diagnostic kit is downloading. A ‘lab on a chip’ system costs less than a penny to make and can test cell samples for diseases such as tuberculosis, malaria and cancer.
The technology could help with early detection of diseases in the developing world, where lack of access to equipment can lead to late diagnosis. ‘You can use it anywhere, as long as you have a printer,’ says Rahim Esfandyarpour at Stanford University, who led the team that created the chips…
…If researchers want to switch experiments and start counting cells instead of separating them by type, they can simply pop in a different electronic strip. ‘You can just draw [the strip] out on the computer and print it,’ Esfandyarpour says. In the future, he’d like to see a shared online database of different designs that can easily be downloaded, printed out and put to use.
This type of kit could be used by any laboratory that has an inkjet printer and conductive ink, says Julien Reboud at the University of Glasgow. There have been other ‘lab on a chip’ designs over the past couple of decades, he says, but it can be difficult to get the technology to clinics and research laboratories in the developing world.”