Nifty new invention tests for

Nifty new invention tests for hundreds of diseases, with just a drop of your blood

From flu to Ebola, this little gadget could change the way we detect and diagnose scores of illnesses.

Nifty new invention tests for

While tech companies worldwide are pushing out devices to monitor your heart rate, count how many steps you’re taking as you shuffle on over to the fridge for that extra doughnut, or let you know how long you have left before you can have a shake, there are clever folks abroad who are working on more useful solutions to healthcare.

Meet Dr Eugene Chan. Chan’s team has created a portable handheld device that can diagnose hundreds of diseases using a single drop of blood with insane accuracy. rHEALTH was developed over seven years with financial assistance from NASA, the National Institutes of Health, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

How does it work?

Blood is dropped into a small receptacle, where nanostrips and reagents react to the blood’s contents. The mix then goes through a spiral micro-mixer and is streamed past lasers that use variations in light intensity and scattering to come up with a diagnosis, from flu to a more serious illness such as pneumonia—or even Ebola—within a few minutes. The results can be delivered to your smartphone or rHEALTH itself via a Bluetooth link.

The real innovation of rHEALTH, according to Chan, is in getting all the diagnostics technologies packed together into one handheld device. By shrinking its components so much compared to traditional devices, Chan says, patients will need to give 1,500 times less blood than they would for regular tests. Since it was originally developed for NASA, the device has even been tested in simulated lunar and zero gravity.

“It’s a symphony of innovations, but we’ve pushed all of them individually to create the device,” says Chan.