The RSC has teamed up with an Oxford University spin-out to sponsor six challenges on Marblar – a radical new online platform for finding applications for unused scientific discoveries.
More than 95% of technologies developed in universities never make it to market, leaving publicly or philanthropy-funded research collecting dust on the shelf. Often, given that academic research can be so ahead of its time, the commercial relevance of these technologies isn’t immediately obvious.
Marblar aims to remove this bottleneck by crowdsourcing ideas for real-world applications from the global science and technology community, with the ultimate goal to create new products and new companies that will drive job creation around these innovative discoveries.
SlipChip is a low-cost microfluidic device that uses only two pieces of plastic or glass to enable the user to perform multiple small-scale chemical reactions simply and precisely. By simply ’slipping’ the glass or plastic ‘chips’ across each other, a number of reactions can be carried out in nanoscale volumes in parallel.
SlipChip was developed at the University of Chicago by Professor Rustem Ismagilov and his then graduate student, Feng Shen. They’ve since created a spinout company called SlipChip based on this technology and Ismagilov has continued his work at the California Institute of Technology. Given the technology’s ability to precisely manipulate reactions in a programmable way, they see applications in multiple fields. Through Marblar, they hope to find ideas beyond their discipline that can exploit SlipChip’s ability to ‘count molecules’, as well as new capabilities for the technology.
Visit the Marblar website to get involved, or read the Lab on a Chip article below:
Digital PCR on a SlipChip
Feng Shen, Wenbin Du, Jason E. Kreutz, Alice Fok and Rustem F. Ismagilov