Andres Rico

Low-cost, modular, open source, and portable bio-reactor for urban bio-sensor development.

As exponential technologies like artificial intelligence, robotics, and synthetic biology make their way into our everyday lives, democratizing their development and deployment becomes increasingly important. Technological literacy has been shown to be key in enabling impact of technologies within bottom-up processes. It is widely recognized that building devices that allow us to democratize different aspects of technological development will be essential for us to rely on distributed creativity and talent to solve the great challenges that the future will have for communities around the globe. 

MAIA is a tool that inspires creativity by enhancing biosensor development for bottom-up citizen sensing applications. The device is designed to become a tool that can allow for quick experimentation and testing of bio-sensor genetic circuits. It contributes to the growing ecosystem of the DIY-Bio movement by providing a modular platform for experimental design and quick iteration based scientific development.

The device borrows characteristics from LEGO bricks to create easy to assemble and interchangeable components. Modules can be stacked and exchanged depending on function and experiment design. The project also integrates the vision of Arduino to motivate hacking and multi purpose use of the device. People can create modules and functionalities that are based on the main architecture design. The designs can be documented and distributed so that many have access to them. Lastly, the reactor brings to bio-reactor and bio-sensor development the benefits that mobile phones brought to computing.

We modularizes bio-reactor functions like, temperature and ventilation control to evaluate plasmid design and bio-sensing experiments. The top module of the device can be modified depending on the stimulation that we want to test. We can have experiments that stimulate cultures with sound, vibrations, light.