Sussex Neuroscience


Help shape the future of open-source lab equipment

Flypi, an open source "all in one" biology lab.

A group of researchers building ‘DIY’ scientific equipment want to know which tools you would use if a low-cost, yet high-performance, alternative were available.

The group, based in Prof Baden’s lab, has set up an online survey for researchers, educators, and anybody in science to share what Open-source Hardware equipment they would find most useful.

Open-Source Hardware refers to design specifications of a physical object which are licensed in a way that the object can be built and used by anyone.

The team is already using this to share the ‘recipes’ for scientific equipment, which often involves 3D printing, providing a cheaper alternative to buying the expensive hardware.

They are currently able to provide cheap but effective microscopes, thermocyclers, shakers, sound stimulators and more, therefore opening up access to research and science education.

The team now wants to gain an understanding of the current research-tool needs that are not yet being met by competitive open hardware alternatives. This will allow them to map the demand for future production.

Andre M Chagas, a Mozilla and FreiesWissen Research Fellow and project-lead said: “By taking this survey, which will take only 5 to 10 minutes to complete, you’ll be helping to guide efforts into making research equipment more accessible and reliable, while at the same time contributing to making science more open and robust!”

Once the responses are processed, the data will be shared with scientists across the world who are already making and sharing open source lab equipment, allowing them to eventually build the tools that are most in demand.

The survey runs until the end of May and all results will be made available online once the project is completed.

More information about the Building FOSH Following Demand Project can be found on the website.

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By: Jessica Gowers
Last updated: Friday, 8 February 2019