Codebreaker

Magic ink from your blood

Marc Sanchez May 3, 2012


One of the biggest problems when people perform in-home blood tests is that they don’t know how to read the tests. Heck, even doctors and nurses get it wrong sometimes. Researchers at Monash University in Australia want to put an end to the errors. They’ve developed paper that, when a drop of blood is placed on it, will spell out your blood type.

The BBC helps to explain: “The device consists of a sensor made from a tiny piece of paper, coated with a hydrophobic, water-repellent, layer, but four ‘windows’ are left without it, making them prone to absorb liquid.”

Each window is loaded with a set of antibodies, which react to different blood types. The article continues: “So when a drop of blood of type A fills the area of the paper containing antibodies corresponding to that type, the red blood cells form clumps and get stuck in the paper fibres, making a letter visible – and the result remains even when the sensor is rinsed.” The researchers claim the test is just as accurate as traditional tests run in labs. They envision this type of testing to be a huge benefit to people in remote areas, where medical care isn’t always available and training can range from none to limited. 

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