State-of-the art liquid handling systems are generally pump-driven systems connected with valves and tubes. These systems are manually assembled, expensive, and unreliable. With the growth of the genomic and drug industries, we are moving toward increasingly complex biological processes requiring very small volume liquid manipulation capability.
Manually assembled mechanical systems do not scale to parallel manipulation of large amounts of small volume liquids. However, the electronics industry has demonstrated how to build robust integrated systems for information manipulation. With this as our motivation, we look toward electronics and integrated circuits to bring miniaturization, complexity, and integration to enable the next generation of biology.