You’ve likely heard the saying “bigger is better”. However, when it comes to technology, that’s not always the case! While the feats that technology can accomplish get bigger with each passing year, the same cannot be said for its form factor.
No, technology occupies smaller spaces every year. Most look to microchips and nanotechnology as the hallmark of the future. However, it is in fact microfluidics that may offer the greatest chance for advancement.
What is microfluidic technology? Here’s what you need to know.
What Are Microfluidics?
Microfluidics, in simplest terms, refers to both the study of and the technology which moves liquids in incredibly tiny amounts. By tiny, we mean less than a quadrillionth of a liter of fluid at one time. While most think of fluid as something unpredictable and uncontrollable, it behaves in strange ways at such tiny scales.
Strange in that its behavior is, in fact, quite predictable and seems to flow in stable, parallel lines. This concept is often called laminar flow.
What Are the Uses of Microfluidics?
Now that you understand the basics of what microfluidics are, let’s talk about how they get used. Microfluidic systems have existed for millennia in the natural world. Where? In the tiny channels that plants use to absorb water from their surroundings.
Naturally, they see most of their use in the modern era in the fields of bioengineering and biotechnology.
Microfluidic systems are crucial pieces of technology used in medicine and scientific research. Glucose meters, for instance, are a form of microfluidic technology. Such chips and systems also play a key role in nutrient delivery, which can simulate environmental factors that might otherwise prove difficult to replicate in biological research. You can click here to learn more about one such research project.
However, microtechnology involving fluids also appears in the consumer sector. If you’ve ever worked with a 3D printer or an inkjet printer, then you’ve also used microfluidics.
Microfluidics Benefits You Should Know
Microfluidics, and indeed, microtechnology in general, offer the obvious major benefit of decreasing the size of technology. With microscopic fluid channels, you can deliver drugs, nutrients, and other liquids in less invasive ways. Additionally, microfluidics can work alongside microchip technology to cool components more efficiently. This allows for smaller and smaller computer components.
As microfluidics continues to evolve, you can expect more efficient systems to show up at the consumer scale. This will mean more accurate readings from exercise trackers, blood glucose meters, pregnancy tests, and many more such systems. It will also mean more efficient printing devices, reducing the amount of wasted ink and product.
Looking to Learn More About the Latest Tech?
Microfluidics are but one piece of a larger puzzle in the field of microtechnology. However, understanding how this technology works can prove difficult for those not in the field.
So, if you’d like to learn more about the latest advancements in technology, why not check out the Tech section of our blog? We update each day with more helpful and informative articles like this one.