by Harold Sorto January 16, 2017

The Whirligig, a toy from thousands of years ago inspired Scientists and Engineers from Stanford University to create a cheap device that could help diagnose Malaria. 

The disease is prevalent in third world countries and it is sometimes difficult to diagnose without appropriate medical equipment. Often times a centrifuge is used to quickly spin blood samples and make the detection of malaria-causing parasites easier. The problem is that centrifuges are occasionally difficult to find and when they are available the lack of electricity makes it unusable. 

The Scientists and Engineers from Stanford University used the Whirligig and 3D printing to create the cheap, portable Paperfuge. 

The Paperfuge does not require electricity and can be used to spin blood samples. Blood sample are placed on the devices center disk and a person pulls the strings to spin it. A Paperfuge takes around 20 cents to make and the devices creators hope to use 3D printed disks to make it more durable.

Photos by Stanford University 

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Harold Sorto
Harold Sorto


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