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An application of silicon micromachining to the analysis of blood cell rheology is described. The system, based upon a micromachined flow cell, provides a specific measurement of each cell in a statistically significant population in terms of both flow velocity profile and an index of cell volume while the cells flow through an array of microchannels. The rationale, design, and fabrication of the silicon micromachined flow cell is discussed. Interrelated considerations determining the design of the associated fluidic, mechanical, imaging, and real-time image analysis subsystems are examined. Sample data comparing normal and iron deficiency anaemic blood are presented to illustrate the potential of this technique.