It is inspired by a child’s toy but it could potentially revolutionise an aspect of healthcare. Stanford University professor Manu Prakash’s Paperfuge, which can go at 125,000 revolutions per minute, can separate plasma from whole blood in 1.5 minutes to diagnose malaria. The best thing about it? It costs less than 20 cents and can work without electricity, unlike its more costlier counterparts.
Prakash, an American scientist who grew up in India, described his creation in a paper published in Nature. The Stanford University professor had previously developed the Foldscope, an origami-inspired microscope which could be used to look at microorganisms. Both these devices expound on the scientist’s “frugal philosophy”, which seeks to create powerful equipment that is affordable and easy to use.
“This was an interactive effort between math and physics and experiments – which led to the final parameters that allow us to spin this simple tool all the way to 120,000 rpm,” Prakash told Inverse.
Here’s Prakash explaining the Foldscope in a Ted Talk.