mediaX Thought Leader Uses DIY Tool To Automate Biology Experiments

March 22, 2017
DIY Biology Tools

Elementary and secondary school students who later want to become scientists and engineers often get hands-on inspiration by using off-the-shelf kits to build and program robots. But so far it’s been difficult to create robotic projects to foster interest in the “wet” sciences – biology, chemistry and medicine – so called because experiments in these field often involve fluids.

By combining the Lego Mindstorms robotics kit with a cheap and easy-to-find plastic syringe, researchers at Stanford University created a set of liquid-handling robots that approach the performance of the far more costly automation systems found at universities and biotech labs.
“We really want kids to learn by doing,” said Ingmar Riedel-Kruse, assistant professor of bioengineering, who led the team that reports its work in the journal PLoS Biology.

“We show that with a few relatively inexpensive parts, a little training and some imagination, students can create their own liquid-handling robots and then run experiments on it – so they learn about engineering, coding and the wet sciences at the same time,” said Riedel-Kruse.
A paper describing the work was published March 21 in PLoS Biology. Riedel-Kruse is the senior author. The lead author is postdoctoral scholar Lukas Gerber.

Read the entire Stanford News Story by Andrew Myers HERE