Feles One Provides Users with a Desktop Biolab
Tom Spendlove posted on May 11, 2019 |
Crowdfunding campaign for a biotech lab set of equipment all housed in the same unit.

When Yixiao Jiang and John Min began to study biology they realized that ideas for experiments were many, but the ability to perform those experiments was often limited. Access to laboratory space, proper accessories, and resources to perform experiments created barriers for the general public to conduct even the most basic research. After some development they've produced the Feles One, a desktop biolab for Bio-Imagineering. The lab is running a Kickstarter campaign to fund the first round of production parts.

The strength of Feles seems to be the wide array of tools available in its small 24 x 26 x 11 inch space. A thermo-cycler, incubator, spectrometer, gel dock, refrigerator, and centrifuge are all available for experiments, but the campaign page cautions that due to power constrictions only two of these modules can run at the same time. A touchscreen controls the system and can log data for the user. The mobile app is in the development phase and the group hopes that an app can build community and collaboration among biotech citizen scientists. The unit weighs 20 pounds and has 90-264 Volt AC input. Features for each of the lab modules are available on the campaign page - the current centrifuge runs at 2000 xg but testing is being done to take advantage of their 13,000 rpm motor that they feel can run up to 8000 xg.

One great aspect of the Feles system is the developer's program, where users can do initial proof of concept work and send proposals to the team for scientific review. These users can then build an application kit for the experiment to be included with future Feles units. The campaign asks that users follow local and board biosafety guidelines, and limit all experiments to Biosafety Level 1. The Feles lab looks like a solid base for anyone starting a small laboratory for biotech experiments on a budget. I appreciate that when discussing the possible uses for a system like this the group shows microbrewing and gastronomy, utility that pushes outside the genetic testing and spectrometry applications that might first come to mind. The campaign page includes a frank discussion on the status of the project in terms of hardware and software and the risks of bringing this design to production. There's a nice showcase of the prototypes built to get to the current level lab system, too. The campaign has not yet been fully funded, and ends on June 6, 2019.

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