July 21, 2010
"Salad Spinner Centrifuge: A Cheap, Ingenious Health Care Tool"
We already know that we need to eat plenty of leafy greens to stay healthy, but who knew that a salad spinner itself could help save lives?
As we learn from EurekAlert, Rice University undergraduates Lila Kerr and Lauren Theis were presented with an assignment in their Introduction to Bioengineering and World Health class. As Theis explains:
"We were essentially told we need to find a way to diagnose anemia without power, without it being very costly and with a portable device."
In a solution short on cost but long on ingenuity, the duo modified a basic, every day salad spinner into an easy to use and transport centrifuge that successfully separates blood to allow diagnosis of anemia with no electricity. The device costs about $30, can process 30 individual 15 microliter blood samples at a time, and can separate blood into its component red cells and plasma in about 20 minutes.
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