George Whiteside's TED Talk on Postage Size Lab Test for Nearly No Cost
George Whiteside's biography on TED mentions a remarkable list of accomplishments. 950 scientific articles coauthored, he's co-founded a dozen companies and has 50-plus patents with his name on them. This talk focuses on a postage stamp sized device that doesn't require the assistance of a medical technologist or the drawing of blood. The "lab-on-a-chip" could be revolutionary for its simplicity and very low cost (near zero) per test. Created from paper and double sided tape, printed on a color printer and transmitted via a cellphone camera the device can give a centrally located physician, baseline diagnostic information such as glucose and protein levels. The paper wicks body fluids then the color denotes the levels present.
His goal is to distribute these simple paper diagnostic systems to developing countries, where people with basic training can administer tests and send results to distant doctors via cameraphone. After you see the talk be sure to visit his foundation's website Diagnostics for All.
From the Diagnostics for All Website:
"To fabricate a diagnostic device, DFA patterns channels and assay zones (or wells) of water-repellant materials into a piece of paper roughly the size of a postage stamp. Biological and chemical assay reagents are then deposited in the wells. When blood, urine, saliva, sweat or other biological samples are applied to the device, the paper wicks the sample through the channels to the assay zones, without external pumps or power. Upon contact, the assay zone quickly changes color and results are then easily read by comparing the color change with a reference scale printed on the device. After use, the device can be easily disposed of by burning."