Select your localized edition:

Close ×

More Ways to Connect

Discover one of our 28 local entrepreneurial communities »

Be the first to know as we launch in new countries and markets around the globe.

Interested in bringing MIT Technology Review to your local market?

MIT Technology ReviewMIT Technology Review - logo

 

Unsupported browser: Your browser does not meet modern web standards. See how it scores »

A fiber-optic cable is a bundle of thousands of light-carrying glass threads. A start-up called Illumina in San Diego plans to put a test tube on the tip of each.

Born in the Tufts laboratory of chemist David Walt, the scheme uses hydrofluoric acid to etch a dimple at the end of each fiber. The teensy wells-each holds just a billionth of a microliter-can be filled with reagent-bearing beads or cells. Expose the bundle end to a patient’s blood or to a test chemical that induces a light-generating reaction and each test tube sends in a report via its fiber. Illumina is betting that the lab-on-a-tip will speed diagnostic tests, chemical sensing and genome experiments.

0 comments about this story. Start the discussion »

Tagged: Biomedicine

Reprints and Permissions | Send feedback to the editor

From the Archives

Close

Introducing MIT Technology Review Insider.

Already a Magazine subscriber?

You're automatically an Insider. It's easy to activate or upgrade your account.

Activate Your Account

Become an Insider

It's the new way to subscribe. Get even more of the tech news, research, and discoveries you crave.

Sign Up

Learn More

Find out why MIT Technology Review Insider is for you and explore your options.

Show Me
×

A Place of Inspiration

Understand the technologies that are changing business and driving the new global economy.

September 23-25, 2014
Register »