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CD players could serve as cheap lab tools

The average home-entertainment disc player is good for audio and video, but a talented hacker could apparently expand the machine's horizons to include medical diagnoses and chemical tests.

Normally, the devices' lasers scan a CD (compact disc) or DVD (digital video disc) for microscopic bumps that encode sounds and images. Analytical chemist Angel Maquieira of the Polytechnic University of Valencia in Spain and his colleagues reasoned that the system could be modified to detect certain chemicals in lab samples as well, and would be much cheaper than the $40,000-to-$80,000 portable microarray detectors usually used.

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