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Top Story

Building lab instruments 1 block at a time

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 make chemical and biological research instruments quickly, easily and affordably. The system of 3D-printed blocks can be used in university labs, schools, hospitals and anywhere there is a need to create scientific tools. The blocks are called Multifluidic Evolutionary Components (MECs) because of their flexibility and adaptability. Each block in the system performs a basic task found in a lab instrument, like pumping fluids, making measurements or interfacing with a user. 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 could be used to create a variety of different research and diagnostic tools.

Visit Website | Image credit: UC Riverside