One of the biggest issues in AIDS testing in the field is the collection, transport, and processing of blood samples. A team of scientists at Harvard Medical School and the University of Texas are trying to meld a mini-processor and a digital camera to create an entirely new form of test, one that fits in a pocket and returns results in minutes, with no lab work needed.
"We etch silicon chips in ways that are very similar to what are used to make Pentium and other computer chips," McDevitt says. "But instead of transistors, we create little test tubes — these little test tubes are miniature reaction vessels that hold artificial taste buds."
To test a sample, you drop some blood onto the chip and then place it into a reader which then tests for the blood CD4 count. Not completely portable—yet—but definitely a step in the right direction.