Samuel Sia: mChip

  • United States


Essentially a lab-in-a-box, mChip is a handheld device that takes a drop of blood and analyzes it for quick diagnosis of a variety of diseases.


Diagnostic equipment is large and expensive. Traditional blood work can take several days to complete and in developing countries, where transportation and finances are scarce, diagnosing disease is nearly impossible. The result is a lack of treatment for patients whose diseases are unknown, which in many cases can lead to death.


Using technologies available on the consumer market, mChip creators have built a small, handheld device that can diagnose a variety of diseases in a matter of minutes. The device, which costs just $100 to manufacture (as opposed to $100,000 for traditional lab-based diagnostic tech), can diagnose HIV, syphilis, hepatitis, and other sexually transmitted diseases in just 15 minutes. With the push of just one button, aid workers can cheaply and quickly determine if a patient needs treatment and administer it immediately.

“You can’t send these patients to a clinic. Aid workers have the drugs for treating sexually transmitted diseases but people in the developing world are literally dying because they’re not being diagnosed properly and they’re not being treated.” – Dr. Samuel Sia, Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Columbia University


In addition to the ease of use in third-world countries, mChip has been approved for the diagnosis of prostate cancer in Europe. By replacing expensive and time-consuming diagnosis in the developed as well as the developing world mChip can increase efficiency and reduce overall health care costs.

“We want to expand diagnosis and prevention and catch diseases earlier by providing diagnostics in more accessible places.” – Dr. Samuel Sia, Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Columbia University