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These microfluidic sensors can be made with a sewing machine

By Paul Grad |

A low-cost method for fabricating microfluidic diagnostics devices using cotton, paper, or other multifilament threads has been developed by a team from Monash University (Melbourne, Australia; www.eng.monash.edu.au). The devices can be used to provide qualitative and, at least, semi-quantitative analyses of fluids, such as blood and urine for medical diagnostic purposes. They can also be used to detect pollutants in water and food products. Several concepts have been developed for low-cost, portable, and field-based diagnostics devices, due to their potential to provide affordable healthcare and environmental monitoring to remote and developing regions. The idea of using electronic threads for human health monitoring has been reported in many studies, but the threads have usually been metal-based, or made of carbon nanotubes coated with polyelectrolytes. The Monash team has used cotton thread because the gaps between fibers provide capillary channels for liquids to wick along the threads; there is no need for an external pump. “To the best of our knowledge, there has been no work reported using cotton thread or other multifilament threads for fabricating simple and low-cost microfluidic analytical devices,” says team leader…
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