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Microfluidics experiment documentation

In this repository I document some of the experiments we did in microfluidics during the DITBio Hackathon at Waag Society on the 12th and 14th of December 2015.

What you are reading right now (the readme file) is the main element of this repository. This repository is not a codebase for a uniform application in the classical sense but a combination of blueprints, images, code and references that all come together in this page. Much of the work during the hackathon was done by a group of people. Wherever I can I will try to reference who did what work.

First an introduction on Microfluidics to provide the functional context for the experiments of the hackathon.

Microfluidics design context

Why microfluidics?

To answer this question we first have to look at the people working with fluids. In chemistry and biology research you work a lot with fluids. Over the years a whole set of tools has been developed to work with fluids by hand in the laboratory. These are tools such as the:

  • Pipet
  • Test tube
  • Centrifuge

Using these tools the researcher can perform each step of an experiment directly by hand. The thing to keep in mind with these tools is that all of them have been designed to be directly operated by humans. The core design constraint therefore is the scale of the human body.

Design constraint

This design constraint poses all sorts of limits on the performance of the tools. A human can pipet only so many samples per minute. Every tool needs to be at least close to the scale of the human hand otherwise we can't handle it.

As Leonardo himself documented it in the Vitruvian Man:

  • A palm is four fingers
  • A foot is four palms
  • A cubit is six palms
  • Four cubits make a Man
  • A pace is four cubits
  • A man is 24 palms

Through technology our minds do not need to be constrained by the body.


Digitalisation, electronics, robotics


Goals

Develop an open-source digital microfluidics chip.

Focus of the hackathon:

  • Experiment with various manufacturing techniques
  • Develop the layout and design of the chip

Digital microfluidics


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.


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