According to NASA, the lab-on-a-chip technology can be used for new tools to detect bacteria and life forms on Earth and other planets and for protecting astronauts by monitoring crew health and detecting microbes and contaminants in spacecraft.
On Earth, some basic lab-on-a-chip technology approaches are being used for commercial and medical diagnostic applications. As an example, the lab-on-a-chip technology can be used as an in-office test for strep throat, or modern in-home pregnancy tests. The hand-held portable device, containing a simple chip design, can conduct diagnostic tests and record test results in a short time for the patient.
Did you know?
Since the lab-on-a-chip is small device, a large number of them could be carried on a Mars rover to search for life and for monitoring microbes inside Martian habitats.
Lab-on-a-chip. The lab-on-a-chip is a microfabricated device that performs chemical and biochemical procedures under computer control, using miniscule quantities of samples to be analyzed. (Courtesy U.S. Department of Energy, Oak Ridge National Laboratory)
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