Science Fiction Dictionary
A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

 

Programmable Lab-On-A-Chip

A programmable lab-on-a-chip (LOC) has been designed at Purdue University. Rather than going through a long and involved process to create single-use devices, researchers have succeeded in creating a much more versatile chip that can perform a wide variety of functions.

LOCs are small and portable; they can be used in the field to perform real-time PCR, detecting and identifying bacteria, viruses and cancers. For example, rather than sending a blood sample to the CDC to test for swine flu, a field agent could make a determination once given the proper characteristics to program into the device.


(Programmable lab-on-a-chip from Purdue University)

A Lab-on-a-chip (LOC) is a device that takes very small samples (as little as a pico liter) and performs a laboratory analysis. LOCs are small, ranging in size from a few square millimeters to a few square centimeters.

The term "chip" is used because some of the manufacturing processes derive from those used to fabricate computer chips (integrated circuits). Photolithography techniques derived from semiconductor fabrication are used where needed. LOCs also require extremely small mechanical structures for fluid handling, like tiny capillary connections, mixers, valves pumps and dosing devices.

Team member and doctoral student Han-Sheng Chuang, a student in the School of Mechanical Engineering, has led work to develop hardware for the new programmable chip, creating a single chip that contains a multipurpose arrangement of these components.

The new chip is made out of a rubber-like polymer, called polydimethylsiloxane, instead of the rigid glass or silicon wafers often used. The flexible material is needed because pumps used to direct the flow of fluid operate with moving diaphragms.

Most other chips have the polymer layer sandwiched between two glass layers.

"We chose to build the whole chip out of the PDMS polymer, which makes it easier to fabricate and reduces cost over other alternatives, such as silicon or glass," Chuang said.

The Purdue-designed chip is able to mix, store, heat and sense what the sample is made of, whereas previous programmable chips have been limited to mixing and storing samples.

Programmable chips for in-the-field analysis are expected within the next five years.

Readers of popular thriller-level science fiction may recall the Boink biosensor from The Cobra Event, a 1997 novel by Richard Preston, which was ultra-miniaturized - the size of a suitcase.

Hard SF readers may also be familiar with the WAGD germ detector from Greg Bear's Quantico, that was handheld:

...She reached into her coat pocket and pulled out a WAGD, hiding most of it in her palm and up her sleeve, then swiftly uncapped it ... and ran the moist gel tip along the inside... She capped and pocketed the device...
(Read more about the WAGD germ detector)

From Purdue News via MedGadget.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 4/30/2009)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )

Related News Stories - (" Medical ")

Drug To Regenerate Teeth In Humans
'We want to do something to help those who are suffering from tooth loss or absence,' said lead researcher Katsu Takahashi.

Illustrating Classic Heinlein With AI
'Stasis, cold sleep, hibernation, hypothermia, reduced metabolism, call it what you will - the logistics-medicine research teams had found a way to stack people like cordwood and use them when needed.' - Robert Heinlein, 1956

Brainoware Reservoir Computation Of Biological Neural Networks
'Head cheese. Cultured brains on a slab.' - Peter Watts, 1999.

Forward CarePod The AI Doctor's Office
'It's an old model,' Rawlins said. 'I'm not sure what to do.'

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

Science Fiction Timeline
1600-1899
1900-1939
1940's   1950's
1960's   1970's
1980's   1990's
2000's   2010's

Current News

Automatic Bot Traffic Is 38 Percent Of HTTP Requests
'there were so many worms and counterworms loose in the data-net...'

Shanghai Guidelines For Humanoid Robots
'Now, look, let's start with the three fundamental Rules of Robotics...'

Desktop TARS Robot From Interstellar
What's YOUR sarcasm setting?

Robots Can Now Have Smiling Faces With Human Skin
'I am a cybernetic organism...'

Virtual Rat Predicts Actual Rat Neural Activity
'..the synthetic intellects at the Place of Knowledge had far outstripped the minds of men.'

GoSun EV Solar Charger Drapes Onto Your Car
'...six square yards of sunpower screens.'

Rizon 4 Ironing Robot
'But after washing and drying clothes had to be smooth - free from fine lines and wrinkles ...'

Cognify - A Prison Of The Mind We've Seen Before In SF
'So I serve a hundred years in one day...'

Robot With Human Brain Organoid - 'A Thrilling Story Of Mechanistic Progress'
'A human brain snugly encased in a transparent skull-shaped receptacle.'

Goodness Gracious Me! Google Tries Face Recognition Security
'The actuating mechanism that should have operated by the imprint of her image on the telephoto cell...'

With Mycotecture, We'll Just Grow The Space Habitats We Need
'The only real cost was in the plastic balloon that guided the growth of the coral and enclosed the coral's special air-borne food.'

Can A Swarm Of Deadly Drones Take Out An Aircraft Carrier?
'The border was defended by... a swarm of quasi-independent aerostats.'

WiFi and AI Team Up To See Through Walls
'The pitiless M rays pierced Earth and steel and densest concrete as if they were so much transparent glass...'

Climate Engineering In California Could Make Europe's Heat Waves Worse
'Pina2bo would have to operate full blast for many years to put as much SO2 into the stratosphere as its namesake had done in a few minutes.'

Optimus Robot Will Be A Good Nanny, Says Musk
'Nanny is different,' Tom Fields murmured... 'she's not like a machine. She's like a person.'

ESA To Build Moon Bases Brick By Printed LEGO Brick
'We made a crude , small cell and were delighted - and, I admit, somewhat surprised - to find it worked.'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.