Check this out!
The problem: Find a way to diagnose anemia without power, without it being very costly and with a portable device.
The solution: A Salad Spinner Centrifuge:
In a solution short on cost but long on ingenuity, the duo modified a basic, every day salad spinner into an easy to use and transport centrifuge that successfully separates blood to allow diagnosis of anemia with no electricity. The device costs about $30, can process 30 individual 15 microliter blood samples at a time, and can separate blood into its component red cells and plasma in about 20 minutes.
“Sally Centrifuge,” as the innovation has been dubbed by its creators, prepares for a summer of field testing in places that will benefit from the availability of effective but low-tech solutions and adaptations. As part of Rice University’s Beyond Traditional Borders (BTB), a global health initiative focused primarily on developing countries, Kerr and Theis will be traveling along with their device to Ecuador, Swaziland and Malawi where rural clinics will provide real-world testing of the surprising diagnostic tool.
Separating whole blood into RBCs and plasma or serum is the crucial first step toward running chemistry and serology tests to diagnose malnutrition, TB, HIV/AIDS and malaria. Traditional centrifuges can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars, and many are not portable – they’re heavy and require electricity to run.
These gals rock! I congratulate them for gaining such media exposure, and I wish them luck with their field testing this summer.