Discarded discs turned into biosensors

US researchers turned waste optical discs into biosensors, according to a study published in the journal Nature Communications. The researchers showed how to separate the thin metal layer of the golden disc from the hard plastic to make sensors to monitor the electrical activity of the human heart and muscles, as well as lactate, glucose, pH and oxygen levels. These sensors communicate with smartphones via Bluetooth. The first step in making is to remove the metal coating from the plastic using a chemical process and tape, then tape the metal layer down, and then process the thin layer to make it flexible. The process is completed in 20 to 30 minutes, releases no toxic chemicals, and requires no expensive equipment, which costs about $1.50 each. A sustainable method of upcycling this e-waste does not require sophisticated microfabrication equipment, expensive materials or high-level engineering skills.

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