Grenelabs has just started anindiegogo campaign to raise money for its lab-on-a-chip handheld diagnostic equipment or as they call it, ‘Lab-on-a-chip: Diagnostics in the Palm of Your Hand‘. I received a Nov. 19, 2013 news release (as happens more frequently these days) about the effort,
Thomas Warinner, head of Grenelabs, seeks crowdfunding to raise $75,000 by December 20, 2013 (11:59 pm PT), www.indiegogo.com/projects/lab-on-a-chip-diagnostics-in-the-palm-of-your-hand, to support the completion of the technologically new, lab-on-a chip diagnostic tool. This device, small enough to fit in the palm of a hand, is designed using reliable scientific knowledge coupled with breakthrough technology. It enables users to diagnose diseases within minutes without electricity and costly upkeep, making it ideal for use in developing countries around the world and by independent research labs whose funds are oftentimes limited.
“Imagine a world in which developing countries can have access to technologies in order to diagnose and prevent the spread of diseases,” said Thomas Warinner, creator of the lab-on-a-chip device. “The importance of these chips is not to just open up research, but to identify illnesses in people who could otherwise not be diagnosed.” Many of these are illnesses that could be contained and treated, if caught in time, rather than allowing them to run rampant, sickening or killing people and/or animals.
So how does it work? Basically, the lab-on-a chip manipulates liquids in capillary tubes within the chip based on the science of microfluidics. For example, a drop of blood is sent past biomarkers that change when positive. Although disposable, the lab-on-a-chip is designed to be accurate over multiple uses. Grenelabs developed the ability to perform diagnostic testing in any setting, making it useful in disaster situations, remote areas, and developing countries. “This technology will change the world,” Warinner said of his innovative tool that measures half the size of a credit card. But, in order to move forward, funding is needed.
In an effort to raise funds, support levels have been created. Choose a dollar amount and receive the assigned perk. For instance, a $55 donation will give the donor a digital copy of a huge modern art mural with DNA sequencing; a $125 donation will reward the contributor with a lab-on-a-chip engraved with the contributor’s name to be given to an area in need; a $500 donation gets the supporter a special work of art with an individualized DNA sequencing as the focus; and a $1200 donation allows givers to conduct their own genetic experiments with an electrophoresis unit deliverable by January 2014.
While the initial goal is to collect $75,000 for finalization and production of the chip, more money is needed to improve the lab-on-a-chip’s reach. With $200,000, an upgraded software system will allow all users, inexperienced and experienced, to utilize the chip. With $500,000, the number of diseases and infections that can be recognized by the device would increase. And imagine having a personal diagnostic system at home; with $1,000,000, that would be a possibility.
Support the campaign through monetary donation or by simply sharing the lab-on-a-chip’s fundraising page with others through word of mouth or social media sites. With support, the lab-on-a-chip will soon be making a positive difference in the world.
Grenelabs is founded by Thomas Warinner. With a mission to provide affordable and accessible learning tools to researchers around the world, the company developed the lab-on-a-chip device to be a convenient, affordable and useful tool for people around the world.
It seems like a well-intentioned project but its a little hard to tell what makes it different from all of the other hand-held diagnostic projects. I did take a look at the Grenelabs website and was not able to get any more information about the folks behind this project or about any other projects they may have underway. It’s early days yet and I’m sure they’ll refine their pitch (perhaps a find a distinctive name for their project?) as they continue to seek funds.
Interestingly (to me) the news release for this campaign,was written and sent by L&C, a company devoted to the promotion of crowdfunding campaigns according to its About Us page,
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We’ve helped entrepreneurs and innovators turn brilliant ideas into realily and are proud of that. We are dedicated in finding the coolest crowdfund projects of the web and in making your life easier, that’s our goal, that’s our passion and 1000′s of visitors per day must mean we are doing something right.
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Based on what I see for Warriner’s campaign, I hope L&C will help the Grenelabs folks to better understand the audience for what appears to be a well intentioned project.