Advances in nanotechnology promise to put an entire medical lab on a chip-sized device, allowing for fast, inexpensive testing anywhere in the world. These new chips can combine a range of tests, and provide near instantaneous results.
A recent article in the Guardian detailed some of the remarkable progress that is underway:
“The lab-on-a-chip shrinks the pipettes, beakers and test tubes of a modern chemistry lab onto a microchip-sized wafer of glass or plastic. Perhaps you want to know which viruses are in a sample of blood? Or, on the battlefield, which biological warfare agent is present in a soldier’s bloodstream? Put in a drop of blood at one end and the carefully carved channels take its constituent molecules past a circuit of nanometre-sized chemical and physical tests that poke, prod and characterise them to answer your question, however complicated.”