The University of Texas at Austin
  • Science & Technology

    Origami meets public health with the oPAD

    By Daniel Oppenheimer, College of Natural Sciences
    Published: June 1, 2012

    Inspired by the paper-folding art of origami, chemists at The University of Texas at Austin have developed a 3-D paper sensor that may be able to test for diseases such as malaria and HIV for less than 10 cents a pop.

    Such low-cost, “point-of-care” sensors could be incredibly useful in the developing world, where the resources often don’t exist to pay for lab-based tests, and where, even if the money is available, the infrastructure often doesn’t exist to transport biological samples to the lab.

    “This is about medicine for everybody,” says Richard Crooks, the Robert A. Welch Professor of Chemistry.

    One-dimensional paper sensors, such as those used in pregnancy tests, are already common but have limitations. The folded, 3-D sensors, developed by Crooks and doctoral student Hong Liu, can test for more substances in a smaller surface area and provide results for more complex tests.

    Read more about the origami-inspired paper sensor.

    • Quote 2
      Karla said on July 1, 2012 at 7:10 p.m.
      Great work! Excellent method of combining science, art and culture. It is work like this that makes humanity great -- innovation for for all humanity (rich or poor). BRAVO!
    • Quote 2
      Angie said on June 26, 2012 at 5:34 p.m.
      Wonderful innovation. Excellent way of presenting the information to those of us who are not scientists.
    • Quote 2
      Mick'n said on June 20, 2012 at 12:57 a.m.
      Wow! That's pretty cool! I love my school :)
    • Quote 2
      Johnathan said on June 19, 2012 at 8:06 a.m.
      What an excellent story! It is great how Hong Liu combined his cultural background, art, and research to develop the oPAD. Thank you for your great research. To express the simplicity of the design, the narrator explained how Hong "just cuts the [sensor] out sort of like little girls sometimes cut out paper dolls." Why equate simplicity to females?
    • Quote 2
      james said on June 18, 2012 at 2:29 p.m.
      very cool! what starts here changes the world! :)
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