This month is proving to be a good month for open-source laboratory hardware. Two projects which have been showing steady progress for quite some time now are ready for large-scale production and have launched kickstarter campaigns to achieve this.
The miniPCR is exactly what it sounds like, a small PCR machine that fits on your workbench. The developers have made some great control software so you can load protocols from your phone,and are using sauna heaters to do the heating. Their kickstarter has been doing very well but some of their stretch goals look good too, so be sure to check them out.
It may appear as though these guys did what we set out to do with our OpenerPCR project, just better. This is largely true, however, we still believe there are some gains to be made in terms of price and the OpenerPCR project still has some use for people wanting to build their own. Either way, a big congratulations to the miniPCR crew and we are confident their product will have a large impact.
As many a scientist knows, sometimes lab work can be so monotonous and repetitive, it makes you feel like a trained monkey. Well, despair no more! Meet your low-cost, open-source lab-monkey: OpenTrons!
By letting this baby take care of the more brain-dead aspects of lab work, scientists around the world can now focus their efforts on the designing of experiments and protocols rather than executing them. At a price of $2000 these robots are a steal and hopefully we will see them used in labs worldwide.
Check out their kickstarter page here.