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From Music to Microfluidics

I got this cool CD from a gene sequencing startup today.


Sony is repurposing media, as the digital hybrid vehicle transitions to pure code. From music to data to DNA.


Specifically, Sony is entering the bio-research market with their experience and excess capacity in digital discs, with high-aspect ratio wells and posts.


I wondered if these test structures were just a cheap substrate or a spinning media as well. The CD format is used for active fluidics as well: it eliminates pumps and valves, and one can modulate the flow to mixing, reagent and waste chambers at outer regions by varying the speed of rotation.


And I heard an interesting application of these spinning discs today. Prof. Madou at UC Irvine was investigating what happens to life forms when launched into space. He used a worm that activates genes for a fluorescent green protein under stress conditions. He used microfluidic discs spun at various angular velocities and accelerations, and the worms were stressed after some speed threshold. But when he gave them prozac mixed in the food in the wells of the disc, they would stop stressing out, even in the highest of centrifuging velocities. He turned some of his research towards tests for the efficacy of certain drugs.

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Taken on February 15, 2012