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Ayoub Qanir (M, 37)
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    The Origins and The Future of Microfluidics

    Harvard ENSC E-155
    Professor Fawwaz Habbal & professor Anas Chalah
    Student: Ayoub Qanir

    Feb. 27th, 2012 | The Origins and The Future of Microfluidics (George M. Whitesides)

    (1) Main Goal of the paper
    How to further develop and ultimately better commercialize the young Mircrofluidics field to make it a more essential and integral element of future technologies and solutions?
    Whitesides describes thoroughly the initial steps of Microfluidics and the major forces that have stimulated its initiation and further development. In his paper, Whitesides also discusses future possibilities of Microfluidic solutions and their potential applications in all facets of future scientific and medical endeavors.

    (2) The Application
    One of the many applications Whitesides brings up in his paper and a primary one is the use of Microfluidics in micro analytics—the ability of separation and detection within fluids at micro scale with high resolution and sensibility.

    (3) Strong and Weak Points
    Strong Points
    1. Whitesides does a distinct job breaking down the emergence of Microfluidics, its ambitious potential whilst still bringing up its realistic and humble limitations within the timeline and maturity of the field. Past-Present-Future.
    2. The paper states general issues of introducing new technologies, which I find extremely useful for new researchers and new tech developers—as it certainly helps in focusing on more pragmatic approaches to the new field. Whitesides also breaks down what a technological revolution entails, its need of integration into complete and functional systems and that real technologies are only applicable and commercially viable when non-expert user can comfortably operate them.
    3. Great statement and breakdown of times when Universities based inventions are priced too high for any interested entrepreneurial party to acquire the rights.
    9. Essential mention that Microfluidics are the optimum choice for anticipatory health-care seemingly the most natural path.
    Weak Points
    Whitesides does not offer any solutions as to how to improve commercialization of Microfluidic solutions.
    1. Whitesides fails to develop his idea of how to better commercialize Mircofluidics; as he stops short when he says “I have no idea why it’s not everywhere”..or simply stating that “corporations must take on the task of making appropriate systems widely inexpensive and available”.

    (4) My Suggestion
    I would have appreciated to see the paper enter the realm of technological commerce, a bit deeper—Whitesides could have offered potential solutions as to how can Microfluidics’ labs and research departments attract more tech-entrepreneurs. Additionally, how can Microfluidics get exposed at a more main-stream level; tech-expo’s and conferences where concept Microfluidics could be shared with wider audiences—helping bring up the notion of the field into the forefront of society’s interest in progress.

    (5) Possible Novel Applications
    Paper-based Microfluidic devices for use in poor, under-developed Africa where HIV is a major cause of death
    These devices would benefit from easibility of fabrication making it possible to carry out a range of analytical protocols simply and inexpensively.

    (6) My Final Decision
    I enjoyed reading Whitesides’ overview on the emergence of Microfluidics and its promising and revolutionary future where other fields will fully adopt Microfluidic solutions into any and all of their processes.

    I strongly believe the paper does a phenomenal job carrying the reader through the life line of Microfluidics, a breakdown of its emerging forces as well as its current and pressing limitations.

    YES! The study was definitely worth publishing

    Grant: Approved


    Fri, Apr 27, 2012  Permanent link

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