SAN ANGELO, Texas -- For residents of Turkey and Japan, San Francisco and Mexico City, an early warning system for earthquakes could mean saving tens of thousands of lives.
For new parents, a noninvasive way to test their infant for congenital lactose intolerance could save weeks of heartache.
For a patient undergoing brain surgery to remove a cancerous tumor, it could make all the difference if the surgeon had an immediate way to find out if the whole tumor has been removed.
Manfred Fink, a professor at the University of Texas Department of Physics since 1968, said he and his team have invented a single device that can do all that and more.
"Anticipated applications are mind-boggling," Fink said.
The device, formally known as an Analytic Non-Dispersive Raman Spectrometer, or ANDRaS for short, brought attention from "all over" after UT's College of Natural Sciences published an article called "The Little Black Box That Could."