“CSA’s Disease-Detecting Microflow is a Real-Life Star Trek Medical Tricorder”
The Microflow is a miniaturized version of a flow cytometer (a common research or clinical laboratory instrument used for a range of bioanalysis and clinical diagnoses). It has been designed by the CSA to spot cells and biological molecules rapidly by using optical fiber-optic technology to detect them in a sample of liquid as they pass single-file in front of a laser–all within 10 minutes. The different detectors are positioned at the point where the stream meets the laser and are able to analyze the physical and chemical properties of molecules or cells in the sample.
Currently, most cytometers weight a couple of hundred pounds and are as big as three large laser printers. As such, they are not the most practical devices especially for work in space. The Microflow weighs less than 22 lb (10 kg) and is around the same size and weight as a toaster. Thanks to its compact dimensions, the Microflow is ideal for work on the International Space Station and for transport into orbit where space is a rare commodity.