Paper-based device tests blood type, Harry Potter style

Written by: Captain Skellett // May 19th, 2012 // Recent Research

Blood test device

Easy reading. Blood test device from Monash University

An easy to read blood test spells out your results, and the diagnostic device was developed with Harry Potter in mind, say researchers from Monash University.

It’s even easier to read than the books!

Monash describe it as “the first equipment-free, bioactive paper-based diagnostic device capable of reporting multiple conditions in written text.”

How does it work? Printed onto the surface is water-repelling chemicals, with gaps for the letters A, B and O, and the +/- sign. Into each of these letters, the device is embedded with antibodies that stick to antigens on blood cells. Antibody A sticks to antigen A, if the blood sample is A. Antibody B sticks to antigen B for B-type. AB blood contains both antigens, and will stick to both spots.

Blood is added onto the device, given time to stick to the antibodies in each letter, then rinsed off. Clumps of blood stuck to the surface antibodies remains, leaving the result displayed out in letters of blood. Pretty cool.

O-type has neither B nor A antigens on the cells, and so won’t stick at all. Only the preprinted O will be visible (see it’s in a slightly different colour to the A in the picture?) The cross inside the O must be embedded with both A and B antibodies, picking up either blood-type and crossing out the default option.

Rhesus factor, the +/-, works much the same way. The default is a preprinted horizontal -, with embedded Rh-antibodies on the vertical line to make a +.

They say the device was inspired by Tom Riddles diary in the Chamber of Secrets, where answers could be received in writing. I love the idea of this easy to use, easy to read blood test, but designing it from a Horcrux? Hm…

The paper was published in Angewandte Chemie, and a Monash press release with picture is here.

Captain Skellett

I be Captain Skellett. Me blog started in April 2009 when I was working full time and didn’t get a chance to talk science. Now I have changed jobs and talk science all the time, but that doesn’t stop me blogging. More About Captain Skellett   Google

   

One Response to “Paper-based device tests blood type, Harry Potter style”

  1. Guy says:

    If O – is already printed on the sheet, how do you tell if someone is O – or it’s just an unused sheet?






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