LavaAmp: cheapest pocket PCR thermocycler dreamed for DIY biologists

The LavaAmp is a portable PCR thermocycler that has the potential to become the default garage biology (home biology, bioDIY, DIYbio) tool once it hits the market. Think of Apple II for personal computing or MakerBot for 3D printing.

The 1st LavaAmp prototype was shipped this week from Biodesic to Gahaga Biosciences and the process is documented and engineering details uncovered in Rob Carlson’s post.

The people behind are mainly ex SciFoo Campers and open science advocates: Guido Nunez-Mujica, Joseph Jackson, Rob Carlson, Jim Hardy and a cool engineer Rik Wehbring.

Here’s the pic of the prototype:

lavaamp-thumb-500x375In the 2007 proof-of-concept paper, entitled A Pocket-Sized Convective PCR Thermocycler, authors Nitin Agrawal, Yassin A. Hassan, and Victor M. Ugaz wrote:

Herein, we introduce an innovative thermocycling system that
harnesses natural convection phenomena to amplify DNA rapidly by the PCR in a greatly simplified format. A key element of this design is an architecture that allows the entire thermocycling process to be actuated pseudo-isothermally by simply maintaining a single heater at a constant temperature, thereby enabling a pocket-sized battery-powered device to be constructed at a cost of about US$10.

PocketThermocyclerAgrawalpic

Realizing the potential of the device and thinking about how to build a digital thermocontroller for it with the Arduino I contacted Victor Ugaz this January and was informed that they only built the proof-of-the-concept  devices testing them in the lab interested mainly in ‘understanding the physics of the thermally driven flow and its effect on the reaction’. But it was obvious to me that somebody will produce those devices for the market and make them affordable to people as it seemed to me as the familiar case of the low(est)-hanging-fruit.

So when Joseph Jackson mentioned to me his grandiose open science plans and the groups’  ‘super affordable pcr’ project I became instantly interested. As Rob Carlson writes:

The intended initial customers are hobbyists and schools.  The price point for new LavaAmps should be well underneath the several thousand dollars charged for educational thermocyclers that use heater blocks powered by peltier chips.

108 thoughts on “LavaAmp: cheapest pocket PCR thermocycler dreamed for DIY biologists

  1. Pingback: LavaAmp Launched Coast to Coast « Frederick County Biotech Community

  2. Medi,

    Exact price is not established. The picture (above in blog post) is our engineering prototype, which we are running amplification with now. Works fine, but still some engineering tweeks to make, especiallly with sample loading. The big challange is getting away from gels for detection (which is likely not until LavaAmp 2.0 or 3.0).

    The goal is to keep the price under $100 USD. I think we can do that, but maybe not until volume picks up to cover costs.

  3. “The goal is to keep the price under $100 USD. I think we can do that, but maybe not until volume picks up to cover costs.”

    This would be a very good entry level price. There is a huge psychological barrier that you would have to get people across, if you went over the 100 bucks.

    Under 100 is much easier, over 100 and people believe they are entering into a luxury item bracket, which your item does not fall into. Hope this helps

  4. I was once involved in a user testing where they actually have some kind of camera that was able to track movement of the eye and plot the heat map on the screen shot in question. That sort of technology should be able to add empirical data.

  5. Pingback: LavaAmp: cheapest pocket PCR thermocycler dreamed for DIY biologists | Plos Biology

  6. Thanks for action the second to plow this, I finger strongly about it and object learning more on this issue. If thinkable, as you vantage expertise, would you design updating your diary with many entropy? It is extremely implemental for me.

  7. I have read the articles you write an article that was considered quite good. Now I’m doing thesis about the article on the Internet are good, thanks for the article.

  8. If filesystem technologies are the subject of fads, it seems everything in the human experience must be. Lately we’ve seen an resurgence of copy-on-write (COW) filesystems which have been popularized seemingly by ZFS but have existed at least as far back as 1990’s Rosenblum paper on LFS. These may be particularly attractive on flash media where seek time is not a problem and where clustering writes together can improve erase block fragmentation issues. However, on spinning media COW tends to fragment the drive and reduce the quality of allocation decisions by enforcing essentially at least two versions of any modified data to be reachable at once.

  9. Journaled filesystems were of course the earlier fad. In this mechanism a copy of any metadata and sometimes data that is to be modified is kept in a journal, a fixed area of the disk or another disk, that logs each modification. In this mechanism the journal is replayed on reboot and the filesystem is left in a consistent state. The problem with journaling is either it’s very simple and uses a tremendous amount of space and I/O with a strict transaction model that prevents some concurrency, or it becomes incredibly complex, to the tune of over 20,000 lines of code in xfs. Still I have questions about concurrency when multiple transactions affect a block in xfs, but I need to dig deeper to understand this.

  10. As millions of people who want to lose weight, but youDid he can not succeed in a kind of worry about your weight yanıyorsunuz more? You might think, and this process will be much easier to lose weight in a healthy way to get over … Now a much more difficult as it used to have a nice view, but you have to do is that you want to attenuation.

  11. I always have wondered how this all is happening and working. And finally I get my answer! Thanks you for the information provided above!

  12. I traverse down conservatives hearty chalk supplementary facilely apprehensible. I will manoeuvred toward because me personally we reach thanks stint you deplete to sbobet knock croak the result. I’m egotistic furthermore flush unconnected allotment hang about for the supersede dojigger. Your clause on the website is very interesting and useful to me.

  13. good article thanks for posting it…~_~’

    Thank you for sharing, all participants write and share the wonderful continuation of these shares with the hope …

  14. I traverse down conservatives hearty chalk supplementary facilely apprehensible. I will manoeuvred toward because me personally we reach thanks stint you deplete to sbobet knock croak the result. I’m egotistic furthermore flush unconnected allotment hang about for the supersede dojigger. Your clause on the website is very interesting and useful to me. I always have wondered how this all is happening and working. And finally I get my answer! Thanks you for the information provided above! I want a source that you used to write. Please Tell me the boys that this article came from. Thanks in advance offline.

  15. Pingback: facial laser hair removal

  16. I always have wondered how this all is happening and working. And finally I get my answer! Thanks you for the information provided above!

  17. Pingback: ตกแต่งภายใน

  18. looks good , is there any update as to the status of the project , because , for one , i know that there’s another project ( price just a little bit bigger , about 440-500 dollars ) called OpenPCR that’s just launched commercially .

    My regards

    Peter.

  19. Hey Peter. We are still working on it. Guido is in Chile after we won $40 USD from StartUp Chile to facilitate commercialization, so we hope to have something ready by 1Q 2012. We are also very familiar with OpenPCR, but that is still based on more “traditional” PCR and will be constrained by that platform. Jim H

  20. Pingback: SEO Vietnam

  21. Pingback: Palm Oil News

  22. Pingback: Taxis Ezeiza

Comments are closed.