The entire New York Times “Science” section is dedicated “low-cost innovations that are making a big difference” in solving global health problems. It’s a great topic and a nice package including longer stories and sidebars on individual projects, like a biodegradable, single-use toilet called the PeePoo. Don’t laugh. As this story and others point out, 40 percent of the world population does not have access to a toilet. The resulting water contamination leads to diarrhea. And, as the story notes, 1.5 million babies die each year from diarrheal disease.
The diagnostic tests designed in Dr. (George) Whitesides’s Harvard University chemistry laboratory fit on a postage stamp and cost less than a penny.
His secret? Paper.
His colleagues miniaturized diagnostic tests so they could move into the field with tiny pumps and thread-thin tubes. Dr. Whitesides opted for a more novel approach, reasoning that a drop of blood or urine could wick its way through a square of filter paper without any help.
We heard about this company at a meeting last year sponsored by the Mass Device website. Speakers at that meeting discussed how to create “a business model that helps solve the global problem of providing healthcare to the planet’s poorest people