Ancient toy modified into 20-cent diagnostic tool

Jan 11, 2017, 4:26 AM EST
Whirligig in motion
(Source: Sheila Sund/flickr)

Whirligig, an ancient toy, inspired a team of researchers at Stanford University to develop an inexpensive, hand-powered blood centrifuge that can be a valuable aid for doctors working in under-resourced, developing countries.

According to a study published in the journal Nature Biomedical Engineering, the device features the most effective way of converting physical energy into rotational energy, a process widely applied in medical diagnostics, reports Live Science.

Study lead author M. Saad Bhamla, a postdoctoral researcher at Stanford University, said that the research involved testing many toys, like the top and yo-yo, but eventually, whirligig’s design, with minor tweaks, delivered speeds of up to 125,000 revolutions per minute (R.P.M.), the fastest speeds reported for a hand-powered device, writes Stanford