An Economical Arduino-based Automated Pipetting Solution
The aim of this work is to offer a reliably functioning automated pipetting system at a cost as low as that of a 3D-printer assembly kit.
In many labs, pipetting is a time consuming and laborious work, inevitably subjected to a range of human factors. Although automatic pipetting equipment can intrinsically overcome a variety of manual pipetting limitations while producing more accurate and consistent results, its lack of affordability can become a constrain for this beneficial technology from being used in various laboratory operations.
To mitigate economic burden associated with current robotic liquid handling systems, an Arduino-controlled pipetting head, accommodating conventional handheld pipettes, has been developed as illustrated in Figure 1 and 2.
Figure 1: Pipetting head (detailed view)
Figure 2: Pipetting head (total view)
The pipetting head is capable of performing aspiration, dispensing, and tip disposal. Tip loading is accomplished by attaching the pipetting head to a linear Z-axis. The Z-axis is installed on an XY-carriage (Figure 3), representing a Cartesian coordinate robot.
Figure 3: Cartesian coordinate robotic system
Various pipettes can be mounted on the pipetting head. As a result, the here presented pipetting system does not require vendor-specific consumables, tips, racks or plates.
The pipetting workstation is controlled by the Xtraduino benchtop Arduino-based microcontroller platform (Figure 4).
Figure 4: Xtraduino benchtop Arduino-based microcontroller platform (in timer mode), SD card slot and USB connectivity on the left side
Pipetting instructions are stored on an SD card in a text-editable file format, allowing pipetting procedures to be designed and carried out according to numerous, freely programmable protocols.
Combining economical and readily commercially available parts with laser cut acrylic components enables the design of automated pipetting solutions that require low funding, similar to the investment needed for 3D-printer kits. Therefore, the benefits of pipetting workstations may be utilized in a wider range of lab applications, leading to more reproducible, less error-prone data while freeing labor forces and increasing lab productivity.
Supporters and collaborators wanted
The Xtraduino pipetting project is actively searching for collaborators who see a potential in the development of such low-cost automated pipetting solutions, wish to reduce human error, minimize intra- and inter-operator variances, and increase lab efficiency of high throughput reoccurring pipetting tasks while maintaining accurate and consistent results.
The project is welcoming collaborators who have interest in establishing case studies of implementation as well as studies on the impact of this technology on workforce well-being, data quality, and lab economy.
For your inputs and comments, please kindly contact: firstname.lastname@example.org