Foldable kayak responsible for new science discovery
02 Apr 2008
A New Zealand company has applied technology developed for a foldable kayak to the biochemistry world.
The folding kayak was developed by Dr Murray Broom using a polyurethane for the skin. Dr Broom and Australo then used this same polyurethane material for the development of the nanopore technology.
Making a hole in the compound enables the passage of particles to be detected, characterised and controlled. The technology, called Scanning Ion Occlusion Spectroscopy (SIOS), will be used to count viruses.
SIOS technology gives an exact number of particles by controlling the size of the hole through which they pass. This process takes around 30 minutes.
The discovery will provide scientists which much more information more quickly than ever before.
Present virus counting technology uses light. In some cases, this method could take a week to count and will provide only an approximate number.
Some diseases, such as chlamydia, are notoriously difficult to diagnose but easy to treat. The SIOS technology will allow a doctor to take a sample, process it in an Australo virus counter and have a diagnosis within five minutes.
Australo’s latest prototype is about the size of a coffee grinder. The 2009 version is expected to be the size of a cellphone, for a tenth of the cost. Comparable existing machines are the size of washing machines.
The ability to count viruses has a number of uses, from universities and medical research to general medical practitioners. By being portable, the technology could be taken into the field.
A virus counter will be released in the coming months. A nano-particle measurement tool will be available later this year and a sensitive molecular diagnostic platform is currently under development.
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