ALBUQUERQUE, July 9 (UPI) -- University of New Mexico researchers brought sci-fi technology to the doctor's office by creating a device that can diagnose a number of ills in seconds.
Best of all, researchers said, the hand-held "biosensor" eliminates the need for expensive and time-consuming tests, The Albuquerque Journal reported Friday. And it runs on AA batteries.
Researchers determined biosensor can identify hepatitis B and C, HIV, hantavirus, flu, and other viral and bacterial pathogens, said David Larson, vice president for research at UNM Health Sciences Center and the project's lead researcher.
The biosensor can test blood, saliva, urine or any other water-based compound, Larson said, returning results in a few minutes to as soon as five seconds.
The device's ability to detect blood-borne illness would be a godsend during disasters, such as the Jan. 12 earthquake in Haiti where health officials needed to quickly identify safe blood donors, Larson said.
"In a situation like Haiti, you can't easily test someone's blood for infection, and you can't ship blood units in and out of the area," Larson said.
R&D Magazine Thursday recognized the biosensor as one of the 100 most technologically significant new products of the year, the Journal said.