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The Sally Centrifuge could save lives in developing countries

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Two Rice University students have created a low-cost product that could allow doctors to save lives in developing countries. Sophomore Lila Kerr and freshman Lauren Theis assembled a working centrifuge out of a salad spinner, some plastic lids, combs, and yogurt containers.  The “Sally Centrifuge” could be an invaluable tool for clinics in the developing world, enabling doctors to separate blood without electricity, to detect diseases like anemia.

The team’s co-advisor, Maria Oden, said “Many of the patients seen in developing world clinics are anemic, and it’s a severe health problem. Being able to diagnose it with no power, with a device that’s extremely lightweight, is very valuable.”

Traditional centrifuges can cost thousands of dollars, making them inaccessible for clinics in many parts of the world. The Sally Centrifuge costs about $30 in parts, including the spinner.

The students will be field-testing the product this summer on patients in Ecuador, Swaziland, and Malawi as part of Beyond Traditional Borders (BTB), Rice’s global health initiative that brings new ideas and technologies to underdeveloped countries.


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Chris Vickery

Chris woke up one day and realized he had been at Arena since 2005, creating all of the user manuals and written content in BOMControl. He can usually be found ...

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