The simple DIY pump made from a balloon and stockings.
Original Published Date: 
Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Full article issued by RMIT University.

ARC-supported researchers have developed a simple pressure pump, made from balloons and nylon stockings, that will allow more people in more places to test water contaminants and blood samples. The ingenious device unveiled in the prestigious Lab on a Chip journal cost just $2 to make, yet works almost as well as its expensive and cumbersome lab counterparts. 

Co-author and Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) recipient, RMIT biologist Dr Sara Baratchi, said it also had promising applications for early diagnosis of diseases at home or in the doctor's surgery. Pumps are used to make biological samples flow through microfluidic devices while their contents are identified beneath a microscope. The balloon pump was tested as a point-of-care diagnostic device for detection of very low concentrations of target cancer cells in liquid samples, and found to work.

Dr Baratchi is now working on applying the simplified pump technology to develop organ-on-chip systems that mimic the flow conditions in dysfunctional vessels, to better understand diseases like atherosclerosis that lead to heart attack and stroke.

Photo credit: 

The simple DIY pump made from a balloon and stockings. Credit: RMIT University and the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research.