Modular Blocks Help Fight Disease

When engineering a solution to a problem, an often-successful approach is to keep the design as simple as possible. Simple things are easier to produce, maintain, and use. Whether you’re building a robot, operating system, or automobile, this type of design can help in many different ways. Now, researchers at MIT’s Little Devices Lab have taken this philosophy to testing for various medical conditions, using a set of modular blocks.

Each block is designed for a specific purpose, and can be linked together with other blocks. For example, one block may be able to identify Zika virus, and another block could help determine blood sugar levels. By linking the blocks together, a healthcare worker can build a diagnosis system catered specifically for their needs. The price tag for these small, simple blocks is modest as well: about $0.015, or one and a half cents per block. They also don’t need to be refrigerated or handled specially, and some can be reused.

This is an impressive breakthrough that is poised to help not only low-income people around the world, but anyone with a need for quick, accurate medical diagnoses at a marginal cost. Keeping things simple and modular allows for all kinds of possibilities, as we recently covered in the world of robotics.

Thanks to [Qes] for the tip!

3 thoughts on “Modular Blocks Help Fight Disease

  1. Is there somewhere that I can actually buy these blocks from them, at that price, with all of the antibodies or whatever already installed for zika virus or other diseases? Or do I need to make them myself (which would mean the price was massively higher than 1.5 cent each that they are talking about).

  2. and how. people figure out their best case bill of materials cost and then announce that’s the mass-production price, long before they’ve studied mass production. then since that number is so low they swear it will revolutionize the third world.

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