Microfluidic

  • If robots are ever going to work alongside humans in the real world, they're going to need a softer touch. Harvard researchers have developed a new method for producing small-scale squishy robots, and demonstrated it by creating a flexible robotic peacock spider, driven by a microfluidics system.
  • ​We've already seen a robotic device that's capable of inserting intravenous needles in people's arms. Now, researchers from New Jersey's Rutgers University have designed a system for drawing and analyzing blood samples.
  • Science
    When performing in vitro fertilization, it's important to use the "best" sperm possible. And while there are already sorting methods that select the fastest-swimming sperm, a new microfluidic device also ensures that they're the healthiest.
  • ​A few years ago, MIT scientists developed a novel way to separate blood cells using sound waves. Now the team has demonstrated the process can isolate exosomes from blood samples, potentially creating a fast way to detect biomarkers for neurodegenerative diseases and cancer.
  • If sepsis is addressed too late, it can result in organ failure and ultimately death. Scientists at the University of Illinois are working at detecting the harmful immune response quicker than ever, with a new lab-on-a-chip device.​
  • Scientists have developed what's been described as "the female menstrual cycle in a dish." Known as Evatar, the system contains actual human tissue, and incorporates interconnected 3D models of the ovaries, fallopian tubes, uterus, cervix, vagina and liver.
  • With little more than a standard inkjet printer, some silicone, and a sheet of polymer film, Stanford researchers have created a reusable diagnostic "lab on a chip" that costs just 1 cent to make. This new technology could help vastly improve disease detection worldwide.
  • ​​When it comes to hazardous fluids, the less that researchers have to finely manipulate them, the better. It was with this in mind that scientists recently developed a new material that does something special when exposed to liquid – it rolls itself into a straw-like tube.​
  • We’ve seen microfluidic devices used for everything from creating organ-on-a-chip systems, to diagnosing ebola. Now, scientists have created a device that uses acoustic vibrations to sort cells, paving the way for faster and more convenient blood test machines.
  • ​Because they filter our blood, our kidneys are particularly susceptible to damage from toxins in our bloodstream. So, how do drug developers know how much is safe? Typically, it's through animal testing, although researchers have now developed something more accurate – a "kidney-on-a-chip."​
  • Science
    A new low-cost device could be used to diagnose diseases in remote regions, where limited health facilities make it difficult to deal with epidemics. The system can provide accurate diagnoses from tiny samples of blood, and has been successfully tested with Ebola.
  • The Hoope ring is worn on the thumb, and can reportedly diagnose diseases such as syphilis, gonorrhoea, chlamydia and trichomoniasis in less than a minute. It could also be adapted to detect other conditions.