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This new DNA Testing Chip scares the bits out of us, expect a science fiction world sooner rather than later


Scientists at Panasonic, along with Belgium based researchers at IMEC, have developed a new DNA testing machine on a chip that can deliver results in an hour, instead of the current 3 or 4 days. The device, which is about half the size of a business card, contains all the mechanics to process a blood sample, including a tiny electromagnetic pump which pushes the sample along a full blown analysis and processing line inside the chip.

You do need a larger machine and a laptop computer in order to output the final results, but the thing is miraculous in it’s sophistication nonetheless. The blood sample is added, and then pushed along where it is filtered, split, analyzed and checked, in a fraction of the time a conventional lab would take.


The developers hope to develop a battery powered version of the technology at some time in the future, at which point it could be used in all sorts of interesting ways, such as testing GM foods in warehouses. Looking even further ahead, how soon before you can be routinely stopped on the street and given a full DNA test by a policeman in 10 minutes? Does that sound a little creepy or what?


What’s really amazing about this new product is how they have managed to literally cram a full laboratory into such a small form factor. We’re getting to the stage where impossible machines can be made smaller and operate faster than we could ever imagine just a decade ago. Progress indeed.

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