updated 02:00 pm EDT, Wed May 2, 2012
Harry Potter inspires blood test paper that prints itself
A self-writing book from Harry Potter inspired researchers to make paper which prints your blood type. A Monash University team in Australia, which published their findings in Angewandte Chemie, made a square-inch sized paper-based sensor that has been tested to achieve the same accuracy as existing blood-identification methods, but is cheaper, easier, and faster to use.
Current blood tests require samples to be combined with antigens and antibodies and checking under a microscope for coagulation. The detailed inspection requires an expert to interpret the results, which can take time and would not be suitable in an emergency situation.
The new sensor consists of a square of paper treated with a water-repellent coating and four shaped windows filled with antibodies. Blood can interact with the contents of each window, coagulating in some and not in others depending on the type. For example, a blood sample could react with the window in the shape of the letter A but not the window shaped like a B. The shaped windows provide blood-type analysis for medically untrained users or for those needing rapid results, such as in a military or emergency situation.
Engineer Associate Professor Wei Shen of Monash University was inspired by the film Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. In the book and the film, Harry writes a question in a magical diary that responds by writing the word "Yes" by itself. [via BBC News]