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Feb 27, 2018 2:58:29 PM | By: Debra Cascio

Explore microfluidics and how scientists use LEGO blocks to create mini-labs

Biomedical Science

In the biomedical sciences, opportunities to incorporate creativity with science are limitless. Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) recently put their creativity into practice by assembling a microfluidic lab that can manipulate biological fluids using LEGO blocks. 

Microfluidics is a field within biomedical sciences that involves manipulating fluids through channels and chambers on a small, sub-millimeter scale. What makes LEGOs so useful to these scientists is that they are among the most uniform materials available to create modular systems. The scientists are able to drill additional holes into the blocks and place them together with other blocks. These labs are then used to sort cells, mix fluids or filter out certain molecules.

According to the December 2017 study published in the journal Lab on a Chip, using LEGO blocks is much less costly and time-consuming compared to building a microfluidic lab from scratch. LEGO blocks can also be rearranged to create a new lab design.

The only downside is that plastic used for LEGOs cannot withstand certain chemicals. However, scientists are already considering creating LEGO blocks out of stronger materials like polymers.

Watch the video below to learn more about how MIT scientists use LEGO blocks to create microfluidic labs.


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