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Third-world (and first) diagnosis under $0.01
March 6, 2010 9:36 PM   Subscribe

Detecting a handful of diseases with comic book ink and a postage stamp (well, not quite, but the technology is related to the ink and it's on a postage stamp sized piece of paper). What's best is that the result is a simple visual that can be sent to doctors far away for recognition.
posted by swimming naked when the tide goes out (16 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
Whatever the opposite of . is, That. !, maybe. Terrific.
posted by davejay at 9:47 PM on March 6, 2010


"Comic-book ink"? There's no such thing. Apparently the comic book connection is that "(We) use technology that's basically related to the technology that one uses to make comic books. We print these diagnostic chips on paper." So it's printed. On paper. Why mention comic books? Is that sexy nowadays? I'm OK with that, just wondering.
posted by Ron Thanagar at 9:50 PM on March 6, 2010


From the original CNN story: "Water-repellent comic-book ink saturates several layers of paper". Pretty straightforward. As that is a quote by the creator, this isn't a media thing.

I suspect he enjoys the comic book angle as it emphasizes the low-tech simplicity, which is the whole focus of his research group.
posted by dhartung at 10:01 PM on March 6, 2010


the result is a simple visual that can be sent to doctors far away for recognition.

A postage stamp?
posted by StickyCarpet at 10:10 PM on March 6, 2010


Why sent far away? Why not include an identification guide with every supply?
posted by clarknova at 10:20 PM on March 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


Why sent far away? Why not include an identification guide with every supply?

Because if you send a cellphone photo of these and they show, for example...100 cases of leprosy, then a doctor can review them quickly and approve sending on appropriate treatment to where it's needed. Since leprosy medicine is often just pills, anyone on site can divvy them up to the patients who tested positive.
posted by swimming naked when the tide goes out at 10:24 PM on March 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


George Whitesides is a famous chemist well known for a number of novel technologies. Lately, it seems he has been on a simplicity kick. His group published an actual research paper describing the use of an egg beater as a centrifuge to separate blood cells.

The technology here is based on lateral flow diagnostics, of which, the most well known example is the dipstick pregnancy test. The spin he puts on it is the idea of multiplexed measurements by printing channel outlines using wax.
posted by euphorb at 12:13 AM on March 7, 2010


Not to take away from the awesomeness of this thing (which is awesome), but there's a real privacy issue in automatically diagnosing mulitiple diseases at once. "Hmm, we think you may have malaria; we'll need a drop of your blood. Ooh, look, you also have HIV ..."
posted by zanni at 12:58 AM on March 7, 2010


"If it all works, it will be extremely inexpensive." So this is vaporware?
posted by XMLicious at 1:04 AM on March 7, 2010


remember, don't lick the stamp before you send it in...
posted by sexyrobot at 1:31 AM on March 7, 2010


wait, an eggbeater? dont lick that either!
posted by sexyrobot at 1:32 AM on March 7, 2010


So when we going to see this in an episode of CSI :)
posted by Tamzin at 4:44 AM on March 7, 2010


Pedant alert!

With the fall of the global communist bloc, the term first-, second-, or third-world are no longer really meaningful because it comes with a whole raft of outdated notions proscribed by US military intelligence.

I recommend "the developing world" or (to use socio-political language to /really/ get an uncomfortable point across) "the global south."

(I don't know why, but this is one of those terms I always feel compelled to correct. That, and the difference between and ape and a monkey.)
posted by clvrmnky at 6:22 AM on March 7, 2010


Assuming that color is important to diagnosis, do cell-phone cameras have enough color fidelity to use with this?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 6:35 AM on March 7, 2010


Last week's sale of Action Comics #1 sold for a cool million. Coincidence? Ha! I bet it was bought by some BigPharma company to thwart this very simple diagnostic solution.
posted by hal9k at 10:23 AM on March 7, 2010


You missed the funniest part about posting this:

via [Giz] via [CNN via PopSci via Inhabitat]
posted by librarylis at 7:06 PM on March 7, 2010


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