“We were out in a primary health center talking to health care workers [in Uganda] and we found a centrifuge used as a doorstop because there’s no electricity.” The workers said that they really needed a powerful centrifuge that they could use anywhere. And it needed to be cheap.
When he got back to California, [Stanford Associate Professor Manu] Prakash began experimenting with all kinds of things that spin, including toys. Toys might seem like a strange place to start, but Prakash didn’t think so. Who doesn’t love toys? And, he explains, “Toys hide in them pretty profound physical phenomena that we just take for granted.”
From NPR: Learn more about how the simple whirligig toy inspired an essential medical solution: a hand-spun, ultra low-cost, paper and string Paperfuge that help diagnose a variety of diseases in places that don’t have electricity.
Related activity: Make your own whirligig with Science Friday.