Monday, February 13, 2017
Paperfuge the low cost hand powered centrifuge for disease diagnosis.
Modern medicine relies heavily on technology, like centrifuges, that are costly, bulky and require electricity. In many places around the world, especially developing countries this kind of equipment can be difficult to access. A new study published online in the journal Nature Biomedical Engineering, researchers described an inexpensive, hand-powered centrifuge that's based on an ancient toy and could help doctors working in developing countries. The centrifuge is the essential in modern medical laboratories,because this device spins samples at high speeds to separate particles or cells based on size and density, effectively concentrating specific components making disease diagnosis easy. The researchers found that a toy known most commonly as the whirligig had the greatest potential as a centrifuge. By altering the basic design, they were able to achieve speeds of up to 125,000 revolutions per minute (RPM), the fastest speeds reported for a hand-powered device. The researchers used a paper disk and fishing wire to modify the whirligig, turning it into a hand-powered centrifuge that costs about 20 cents to build. They called their device a "paperfuge" and tested it against modern centrifuges to measure red blood cell counts. To do so, Prakash and his team loaded a finger prick of blood into a capillary tube and placed that into a sealed plastic straw that was mounted onto the paper disk. The result was obtained in a minute and a half , without electricity and were similar in tests for malaria parasites.