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E. A Space-Age Way To Take Your Medicine

Narrator: This is Science Today. Miniature devices the size of a computer chip with microscopic, heat-activated valves and bubble pumps may become the drug delivery system of the future. Dorian Liepmann, a professor of mechanical engineering at the University of California, Berkeley says this technology of mixing fluids in channels the size of a human hair, is called microfluidics.

Liepmann: Microfluidics is just taking off, I mean there's research being done everywhere for everything from pathogen detection for protection against chemical and biological weapons, rapid DNA processing. We have some ideas about how you can actually use these things to diagnose diseases very rapidly.

Narrator: Liepmann envisions using microfluidics on plastic the size of a credit card. This portable system would be able to deliver drugs such as insulin to diabetics or antibiotics to soldiers in the field -even astronauts in space.

Liepmann: The idea is that if you go up to the moon or Mars, you can imagine that a first aid kit or a medical kit would just be a whole set of credit cards with different dry drugs.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.