When George M. Whitesides and his research team at Harvard University look at Bubble Wrap, they don’t see packing material or even a sheet of stress relief waiting to be popped. Rather, the researchers see scads of sample containers for the lab. Whitesides’s group has long been adapting everyday items such as eggbeaters and camera phones as low-cost lab equipment and disease diagnostics for the developing world. “Looking at Bubble Wrap, we noticed that the bubbles are in some sense like the ‘wells’ of a well-plate,” the team says. So the scientists tested whether various brands of the polyethylene-based packaging could replace expensive sample well-plates in resource-limited settings (Anal. Chem. 2014, DOI: 10.1021/ac501206m). They injected individual bubbles with aqueous solutions, sealed the punctures with fingernail hardener, and demonstrated that the fluids were stable and didn’t leak for weeks. Then they showed that the bubbles—sterile inside and permeable to gases such as oxygen—can be used to culture microorganisms. And the team proved that the sheets could be preloaded with assay reagents, injected with blood samples, and loaded into a plate reader to determine the samples’ hemoglobin content, an indicator of anemia.