Diagnostics Advance: 3D Printing Microfluidic Channels on a Sphere
Microfluidics are used in medical diagnostics like COVID-19 and cancer, pregnancy testing, drug screening and delivery, and more. Researchers at the University of Minnesota have now 3D printed unique microfluidic channels on a sphere, which could automate production of diagnostics, sensors, and assays used for a variety of medical tests and other applications. The researchers are the first to 3D print microfluidic channels on a curved surface, providing the initial step for someday printing them directly on the skin for real-time sensing of bodily fluids. The team used a custom-built 3D printer to directly print the microfluidic channels on a surface in an open lab environment, and showed that the fluid flow through the channels could be controlled, pumped, and re-directed using a series of valves.