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Game-changing $5 chemistry set inspired by music box - CNET


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Yeah science:

Stanford Assistant Professor of Bioengineering Manu Prakash sees the world a little differently. He already made a scientific splash with a 50-cent origami-style paper microscope. Now he's tackling the world of chemistry sets.

The inspiration for Prakash's $5 chemistry set came from a small, hand-cranked music box. You turn the handle and feed a paper strip with punched holes through the music box. Inside the box is a comblike metal piece, with each strip sounding a different note. Each note has its own cog. When a tooth of the cog catches on a punched hole, the cog rotates and sounds the corresponding note.

Now, imagine using a similar mechanism to trigger the mixing of fluids to create chemical reactions. Prahash's device holds a microfluidics chip, which is like a lab-on-a-chip. It contains tiny channels etched or molded onto a silicon piece. The channels hold fluid. With Prakash's modified music-box concept, the punched holes trigger a pump that releases a drop of the fluid. The holes can be arranged to mix fluids from different channels in a certain order.

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