Updated on 22 April 2015
The new cloud bio-lab enables students and scientists to send instructions and get back experimental results, mimicking cloud-based data sites
Singapore: Bio-engineers at the Stanford University have devised a new robotic biology cloud lab that enables people to interact with biological materials and perform experiments. Called interactive biology, the project will be unveiled this week at the Computer Human Interactions (CHI) conference in Seoul, South Korea.
Mr Ingmar Riedel-Kruse, assistant professor of bioengineering at Stanford University, said, "Biotechnology today is very similar to where computing technology used to be. We are enabling people to interact with biological materials and perform experiments the way we interact with computers today."
Mr Riedel-Kruse said that using the new cloud bio-lab students and scientists can send instructions and get back experimental results, mimicking cloud-based data sites.
Mr Zahid Hossain, Stanford PhD student who worked with Mr Riedel-Kruse, built the prototype by using LEGO Mindstorms. He created a liquid handling robot, which glides over a flatbed photo scanner containing six petridishes holding slime mold that feeds off oatmeal.
Using remote control interfaces on their smartphones, students ordered the robot to drop oatmeal onto specific petridishes. The software allowed them to choose different droplet patterns and the scanner recorded how the mold followed each trail of oatmeal dots by 'sniffing out' chemical cues in the petri dishes.