Researchers at Newcastle University in the UK have come up with a new type of bio-sensor based on a vibrating disk a tenth of a millimeter in diameter. The tiny disk, with a gyroscope at its heart, is coated with proteins or DNA that the target marker -- in the research case, molecules produced by cancerous cells -- finds attractive. The vibrations are so precisely tuned that the weight of a single molecule can alter the motion of the disk in a readily-detectable way. The vibrating disk method could prove to be faster and more accurate than current chemical tests, and make possible easy testing for hard-to-spot phenomena:
The technology could eventually be developed for other types of cancer and a range of other diseases, including those caused by bacteria. This opens up the possibility of hospitals being able to screen new patients and visitors for MRSA, tuberculosis and other diseases to prevent the infections being carried into the wards. [...] Potential uses do not stop at medicine. In theory, the technology could be used to detect particles from biological or chemical weapons, providing an early warning system against terrorist attacks.