Lego-Like Chemistry And Biology Erector Set

A team of researchers and students at the University of California, Riverside has created a Lego-like system of blocks that enables users to custom build chemical and biological research instruments. The system of 3D-printed blocks can create a variety of scientific tools.

The blocks, which are called Multifluidic Evolutionary Components (MECs) appeared in the journal PLOS ONE. Each block in the system performs a basic lab instrument task (pumping fluids, making measurements or interfacing with a user, for example). Since the blocks are designed to work together, users can build apparatus — like bioreactors for making alternative fuels or acid-base titration tools for high school chemistry classes — rapidly and efficiently. The blocks are especially well suited for resource-limited settings, where a library of blocks can create a variety of different research and diagnostic tools.

The project is led by graduate student [Douglas Hill] along with assistant professor [William Grover] and the work was funded by the National Science Foundation. You can see a video describing the blocks, below. Here at Hackaday, we’re no strangers to biohacking. Chemistry, too, comes up in a lot of interesting electronics contexts, including solar cell research.

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