Video: How This Paper Toy Could Change Global Health

science photo/

Rapid spinning is the first step toward diagnosing illnesses like malaria and HIV.

Stanford University scientists have introduced a groundbreaking scientific device—made out of paper and designed after a whirligig toy.

The Paperfuge works the same as a traditional centrifuge, separating the contents of biological samples like blood and plasma, through rapid spinning. And that spinning is the first step toward diagnosing dangerous illnesses like malaria and HIV.

The big difference is that traditional centrifuges are heavy, expensive and require electricity to power them, and that just isn't feasible in many parts of the world

"We told ourselves we're going to design one, but it cannot require any electricity, because of the places we work in," said Manu Prakash, assistant professor of bioengineering at Stanford. "It needs to be completely light and portable that I could carry it in my pocket, and it had to cost less than a $1 in parts, just so we could actually scale the manufacturing."

To see the Paperfuge in action, check out this video below from Wired