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This hacked 3D printer can detect infectious diseases

by • July 28, 2016 • No Comments

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AI Biosciences Inc in Texas has hacked a 3D printing device and generated a machine that can assist detect infectious diseases in developing nations and replace seriously expensive medical kits.

This is not science for its own sake by any means. Sample preparation instruments on this scale cost $10,000-$15,000, that means they just aren’t on the market to the people that require them many in developing nations.

A new angle on a 3D printing device

Season Wong, the founder of AI Biosciences Inc, was via a 3D printing device for prototyping. With the machine in front of him he realised he had all the basic tools to automatize
nucleic acid extraction, as well as DNA amplification. He realised he may turn it into a commercial grade alternative for a fraction of the overall cost, too.

The team stuck to budget printing devices that cost less than $700 as this may prove a important part of the project. Essentially, the team stripped the extruder of the printing device and replaced it with a Magnetic Particle Processing Attachment. The company made this in-house and and so, pretty ironically, made it with a 3D printing device.

Once assembled, the 3D printing device and MPPA can hold a disposable tip comb that allows for for large-scale testing of blood or other samples. “From there we can control the motors and heaters by feeding G-codes into the 3D printing device,” Wong said.

Cracking the code

G-codes control the motors’ positions and a variety of other functions. So by just writing their own G-code, the team may manufacture their equipment a match for the much additional expensive, purpose-built medical equipment. This control technique means that the hacked printing device shouldn’t require a laptop loaded with specific software to operate, either.

The team utilized a variety of entry level printing devices, many of that have a maximum of two heating elements. With one placed at the extruder and the other on the heated bed, the researchers reckoned they may generate adequate heat to amplify the DNA.

“Testing the maximum allowed temperatures confirmed that the heaters can be utilized for sample incubation, isothermal DNA amplification, and actually polymerase chain reaction (PCR) thermal cycling,” said Kamfai Chan, a scientist at the company. “We can maintain the temperature of the heated bed at over 90°C to denature DNA, a significant step requireed in PCR amplification of nucleic acids.”

The machine has may already proved its worth

The team has may already systemed 12 samples in less than 13 minutes, that has massive implications for testing programs in areas like Sub Saharan Africa and remote parts of China.

Doctors in these areas work in complex conditions, with limited equipment. So wide scale testing just does not take place as frequently as it should. Routine testing may assist to combat the spread of a number of debilitating conditions and donate doctors a fighting accident by picking up people that require treatment preceding it turns into an outbreak. But the doctors just did not have the resources.

This easy concept may allow them to extract DNA with the same level of efficacy as the gold-standard spin-column method.

A hacked 3D printing device can system blood tests

Called up to the big leagues

Wong packed two 3D printing devices in their checked baggage and took them to John Hopkins University so that Charlotte Gaydos, a professor of the Division of Infectious Diseases at the institution and a collaborator on the project, may assist to validate the results.

“We that successfully utilized the 3D printing devices to demonstrate extraction and PCR amplification of Chlamydia trachomatis DNA of urine samples,” Wong said. “In the PLOS One paper, we in addition presented the extraction of dengue samples for the reason we wanted to demonstrate that both DNA and RNA based extraction are feasible with our setup.”

The team published their findings in PLOS ONE, the scientific journal of record for the open access community. We can just salute the idea system that made this medical and 3D printing breakthrough.

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