Microfluidic Apps for off-the-shelf instruments
Within the last decade a huge increase in research activity in microfluidics could be observed. However, despite several commercial success stories, microfluidic chips are still not sold in high numbers in mass markets so far. Here we promote a new concept that could be an alternative approach to commercialization: designing microfluidic chips for existing off-the-shelf instruments. Such “Microfluidic Apps” could significantly lower market entry barriers and provide many advantages: developers of microfluidic chips make use of existing equipment or platforms and do not have to develop instruments from scratch; end-users can profit from microfluidics without the need to invest in new equipment; instrument manufacturers benefit from an expanded customer base due to the new applications that can be implemented in their instruments. Microfluidic Apps could be considered as low-cost disposables which can easily be distributed globally via web-shops. Therefore they could be a door-opener for high-volume mass markets.