Microfluidics rising: Google’s Ngram Viewer

Exciting to see the debut of Google’s new Ngram Viewer, developed in a collaboration with Harvard scholars Jean-Baptiste Michel and Erez Lieberman-Aiden. The Ngram Viewer is a new tool that counts the appearance of specific phrases in books over the past several centuries. Books probably aren’t the best way of gauging activity in a field like microfluidics, but it’s still interesting to see the activity over time. In contrast to results from a previous blog post looking at the volume of Google hits, the term “microfluidic” is far and away the most frequently mentioned (compared to the terms “lab on a chip”, “bio microsystems”, and “BioMEMS”). The different results are presumably due to the different sources of information and search algorithm. (I wonder what the graph would look like if the Ngram methods were applied to all information on the internet?) Unfortunately the font is a bit small — click on the picture below to see the full-size graph.