Atlanta Engineers Develop Affordable, Durable Lab Equipment
Tom Spendlove posted on March 04, 2019 |

Tony Hoang has a problem with the way scientific equipment is built and sold. His experience revolves around gel electrophoresis, a method used to sort DNA, RNA or proteins according to molecular size. Equipment for the gel electrophoresis is currently made by gluing together CNC-cut acrylic sheets. That process is expensive, very brittle and susceptible to cracking if dropped from low heights, and when one piece breaks the user is required to buy a full new set. Hoang and his team at Automated Laboratory Technologies developed a gel electrophoresis kit that uses molded plastic pieces to make the system more cost effective and durable. The Smart Cast system is running a Kickstarter funding campaign for its first run of production parts.

The Smart Cast Gel Electrophoresis Kit comes with a cast box, top cover, gel tray, gaskets, and wiring. The system is intended for any science lab performing gel electrophoresis, but the campaign suggests that K-12 STEAM labs, college and university biology labs, and private labs could all benefit from a new durable set of tools. This also feels like a good opportunity to get better tools into the hands of scientists in developing countries.

This crowdfunding campaign is low-flash and low-marketing. The campaign video shown here is only seven seconds and it shows off the system’s greatest feature, the ability to fall from a height and not shatter, but it doesn’t do anything else. Automated Laboratory Technologies also supplies the ALT Nucleus, an IoT gateway that connects a data collection system with several sensors for recording and displaying biological data. This group is making great effort toward bringing scientific discovery methods to everyone, they just need to refine their communication and marketing strategies. They’re also looking for Beta Testers. This is a great example of engineers and designers unsatisfied with current equipment and developing tools for everyone to use, and hopefully the word gets out and their projects are successful. The campaign ends on March 9, 2019.

























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