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The Shrinky Dink Solution

Remember Shrinky Dinks?  Michelle Khine sure does, and has implemented the decorative toys into her research project at UC Irvine.
She was experimenting with tiny liquid-filled channels in hopes of devising chip-based diagnostic tests, a discipline called microfluidics. The trouble was, the specialized equipment that she previously used to make microfluidic chips cost more than $100,000--money that wasn't immediately available.

Racking her brain for a quick-and-dirty way to make microfluidic devices, Khine remembered her favorite childhood toy: Shrinky Dinks, large sheets of thin plastic that can be colored with paint or ink and then shrunk in a hot oven. "I thought if I could print out the [designs] at a certain resolution and then make them shrink, I could make channels the right size for micro fluidics," she says.

Technology Review has the story: Link. | Photo by Dave Lauridsen

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