MIT Little Devices Lab

Dime-sized square blocks, snapped together in a line, with upper and lower overlapping paper tabs. Below this, the same type of blocks are arranged to form the letters M, I, and T.

Ampli construction sets are modular blocks with paper-based fluidic elements, that can be connected to form paperfluidic circuits. These support quick and easy engineering of paper analytical devices for glucose assays, infection diagnostics, and more. (Image by Little Devices Lab.)


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The MIT Little Devices Lab collaborates with healthcare professionals in developing countries to create affordable health and medical technologies. A large number of these healthcare professionals are nurses, and have been described as “stealth innovators,” “NurseMakers,” and “MacGyver Nurses.” (Rice, S. "Nurses Devise Their Own Innovations." Modern Healthcare, 17 Oct., 2015).

The Little Devices Lab helps support these inventors by sending them kits with the modular parts and materials to invent and build their own customized, cost-effective medical devices. They can then solve challenges specific to their patients and work environments, for a range of applications from diagnostics to microfluidics to drug delivery.

Similar to how breadboards enabled people to more easily build their own electronics, one of the lab’s projects involved creating a biochemical breadboard with plug-and-play sets of blocks for building paper analytical devices, which healthcare workers can use to make diagnostic tests that meet their needs.

On the Little Devices Lab’s site, users will find more details about the lab's ongoing projects and research, video presentations about its work, and several of its members' publications.

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Jose Gomez-Marquez, and Anna Young. RES.HST-001 MIT Little Devices Lab. Fall 2021. Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT OpenCourseWare, License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA.

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