The broader impact/commercial impact of this Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project is to reduce cost and increase accuracy of solutions for the healthcare industry, including point-of-care diagnostics, therapeutics, and drug development, by enabling new lab-on-chip technologies. These technologies rely on microfluidic devices, small plastic parts that automatically and efficiently conduct scientific experiments with tiny volumes of liquid samples. Point-of-care devices can have a particularly profound impact on underserved communities by allowing access to testing otherwise unavailable due to cost and resource issues. The proposed system will decrease the time and expense required to develop technologies addressing these challenges.
This SBIR Phase I project addresses the speed of lab-on-chip development through three main technical innovations: 1) A library of microfluidic features for design of microfluidic parts; 2) A rapid tooling system rapidly producing microfluidic molds; and 3) The macro-to-micro interface where lab-on-chip devices connect to the outside world. The proposed project will create an automated system to quickly and reliably connectorize microfluidic devices, increasing reliability and ease of use. The performance goal is a complete lab-on-chip prototyping system providing fully functional devices in less than a week.
This award reflects NSF’s statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation’s intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.