Little blood sucker

Usually if you need to have your blood tested it means going to a doctor's office having some blood drawn and then waiting a while---the blood is sent to a central laboratory and then the results come back in a few days or so.  But imagine if you had a gizmo that was inserted under your skin and tested your blood sending out the results wirelessly.  'too much cholesterol, not enough vitamin B!' and then you could eat right or exercise more.  Scientists at the EPFL (École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne--a great research institution in Switzerland) have developed a tiny device to do just that.  The sensor is very small and it receives its power from another part of the device that is outside of your skin (think how a cordless toothbrush is charged).  The results are then sent by Bluetooth to a doctors computer where the results can be interpreted. 

Smaller and smaller

What is the smallest thing you can think of?  an electron, a quark? Well now what is the smallest thing you can make?  The answer is complicated but one thing you can say is that the smallest piece of a hard drive is about 10 nanometers.  That is 10-one billionth of a meter.  If you take your average hair and slice it along its width 10,000 times you get 10 nanometers.  How about the other way of thinking about need only 50 atoms to make something that is 10 nanometers.  Engineers at HGST, a part of Western Digital (you might even have one of their hard drives in your computer) have made 10 nanometer magnetic islands which can be used for data storage.  Why is this important? It means you can pack much more data in the same size drive.  To make these 10 nanometer magnetic islands, the HGST engineers used 'self-assembling' molecules and nanoimprinting techniques.
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