Cheap Microfluidic Device Made From Paper and Tape

Harvard scientists hope to reduce the cost of medical tests

2 min read

10 December 2008—Harvard researchers have made a device from just paper and double-sided sticky tape that could be used to test for diseases at just a fraction of the cost of today’s diagnostic devices. George Whitesides, a professor of chemistry and chemical biology, and his colleagues built the three-dimensional microfluidic device using photolithography techniques similar to those used in the semiconductor industry. The study was published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences .

”It’s very creative and also potentially very useful,” says Sam Sia, assistant professor of molecular and microscale bioengineering at Columbia University. ”It has use for diagnostics in resource-poor settings.”

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Are You Ready for Workplace Brain Scanning?

Extracting and using brain data will make workers happier and more productive, backers say

11 min read
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A photo collage showing a man wearing a eeg headset while looking at a computer screen.
Nadia Radic
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Get ready: Neurotechnology is coming to the workplace. Neural sensors are now reliable and affordable enough to support commercial pilot projects that extract productivity-enhancing data from workers’ brains. These projects aren’t confined to specialized workplaces; they’re also happening in offices, factories, farms, and airports. The companies and people behind these neurotech devices are certain that they will improve our lives. But there are serious questions about whether work should be organized around certain functions of the brain, rather than the person as a whole.

To be clear, the kind of neurotech that’s currently available is nowhere close to reading minds. Sensors detect electrical activity across different areas of the brain, and the patterns in that activity can be broadly correlated with different feelings or physiological responses, such as stress, focus, or a reaction to external stimuli. These data can be exploited to make workers more efficient—and, proponents of the technology say, to make them happier. Two of the most interesting innovators in this field are the Israel-based startup InnerEye, which aims to give workers superhuman abilities, and Emotiv, a Silicon Valley neurotech company that’s bringing a brain-tracking wearable to office workers, including those working remotely.

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