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Origami Sensors

An inexpensive 3-D paper sensor could test for HIV and malaria.

By | March 9, 2012

image: Origami Sensors Origami-inspired paper sensorAlex Wang

Origami-inspired paper sensorALEX WANG

Home pregnancy tests use simple, one-dimensional paper sensors to detect a hormone called hCG that increases at the onset of pregnancy. Now, chemists at The University of Texas at Austin have developed an analogous, but 3-D, paper sensor that can provide results for complex tests such as malaria and HIV and can be printed on an ordinary office printer for a cost of less than 10 cents apiece.

“This is about medicine for everybody,” Richard Crooks, who led the study, said in a press release. The sensor design was published this week in Analytical Chemistry.

The origami-like sensors work like a home pregnancy test—a hydrophobic material such as wax is printed into tiny channels on chromatography paper. Those channels direct the sample—urine, blood, or saliva—to spots on the paper where test reagents have been embedded, which react by turning a specific color, for example. The reagents could test for biomarkers that already exist for a range of diseases, including HIV, malaria, and diabetes. “At the end you unfold this piece of paper, and if it’s one color, you’ve got a problem, and if not, then you’re probably OK,” Crooks said in the release. The proof-of-principle prototype sensor uses aluminum foil and detects glucose in urine.

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Avatar of: Jennifer Griffiths

Jennifer Griffiths

Posts: 1457

March 9, 2012

It would be less confusing if this story linked to the original article in the Journal of the American Chemical Society (http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10... and not just the follow-up in Analytical Chemistry.

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Posts: 0

March 9, 2012

It would be less confusing if this story linked to the original article in the Journal of the American Chemical Society (http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10... and not just the follow-up in Analytical Chemistry.

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