Engineering Innovation Podcast and Radio Series

Lab Powered by Music

PostedMay 3, 2013

Anchor Lede: You might one day carry a wristwatch-size device for a wide range of do-it-yourself heath tests. Cooler still, it might be powered by music.

Randy Atkins: Numerous lab tests can now be done simultaneously on chips the size of a dime. A problem, though, is making small enough pumps and valves to push tiny drops of fluids around. But Mark Burns, a University of Michigan chemical engineer, has a solution…(nat. sound)…music.

Mark Burns: You can send different air signals, or puffs of air, by using different notes.

Randy Atkins: The air pushes fluids through particular channels on the chip depending upon the notes played.

Mark Burns: You can essentially just have a little speaker above your chip which will then play the different notes and the drops will move…

Randy Atkins: …to desired tests potentially ranging from what’s in your food to whether you have the flu. With the National Academy of Engineering, Randy Atkins, WTOP News.