Making Handheld Health Care a Reality

Two researchers at the George Washington University School of Engineering and Applied Science, Dr. Zhenyu Li and graduate student Baichen Li, have developed a liquid handling system that could make handheld health care testing a reality.

This compact microfluidic liquid handling system fits in the palm of your hand and is operated by a smartphone, which, with the help of a mobile app displays test results within 15 minutes.
The instrument could be used in physicians’ offices or emergency rooms, providing a cheaper, faster alternative to standard diagnostics tests. In the future, the handheld device could be sold to individual consumers, so people would be able to monitor their health in their homes. Alternatively, this technology would be ideal for patients in developing countries who do not have access to laboratory services.

The researchers still have a few technical issues to address before their device is perfected. They would like to make the microfluidic chip more inexpensive, disposable and the system lighter weight. They also are developing ways for the system to be able to perform multiple tests at once.

The National Science Foundation sponsored this research.

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