A Florida State University researcher has designed a smart "traffic system" that is small enough to fit on a microchip. The lab-on-a-chip device, when exposed to very low magnetic fields, can be used as a portable tool for diagnosing human illnesses. With the system, doctors would not have to wait days for lab results. It would be possible to take a single drop of the patient's blood, place it on a small chip, and then be able to provide a quick, accurate diagnosis.
The device works by exposing the blood sample to very low magnetic field oscillations. In so doing, certain microscopic particles within the sample are manipulated into "commuting" through magnetic bubbles on the surface of the chip. Observing where various particles align themselves then would enable doctors to determine the nature of the patient's illness. The magnetic "traffic system" guides the particles to different positions on the chip depending on their molecular marking.