Image of the Day: Handheld Science
Image of the Day: Handheld Science

Image of the Day: Handheld Science

Researchers create a 3-D printed, portable centrifuge that can be affordably produced for science classrooms.

Jun 18, 2019
Chia-Yi Hou

ABOVE: The 3D-printed disks are designed to hold small vials of liquid. The user then pulls yarn to spin the disks.
ROB FELT/GEORGIA TECH

A portable, hand-powered, 3-D-printed centrifuge can prepare DNA samples on the cheap in the field or in the classroom, the developers report in PLOS Biology on May 21. The centrifuge uses yarn to spin the disk that holds the vials, drawing inspiration from a centrifuge made from paper and string that was developed in 2017 and an ancient spinning toy made with string and a button.

After the authors released their preprint on bioRxiv, they received emails from high school teachers in Zambia and Kenya who were interested in the design. “Through this, we’ve realized how much of an impact simple yet effective tools can have, and hope this technology motivates others to continue along the same path and innovate new solutions to global issues,” says coauthor Gaurav Byagathvalli of Georgia Tech in a press release.

G. Byagathvalli et al., “A 3D-printed hand-powered centrifuge for molecular biology,” PLOS Biology, doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.3000251, 2019.

The 3D-Fuge
ROB FELT/GEORGIA TECH