Innovation That Matters

'Bernie' | Photo source Cartesian Robotics

A time-saving robot for scientists can purify DNA automatically

Health & Wellbeing

The robot will produce the same results as a human scientist could, saving both time and resources

Spotted: Cartesian Robotics is launching a Kickstarter campaign to polish the prototype of a robot that can automatically purify DNA with magnetic beads.

DNA purification is a common process in experimental biology and synthetic biology. However, it is often a laborious task that takes up both time and money. According to Cartesian Robotics, a robot that looks a lot like a 3D printer can do many routine tasks that scientists otherwise have to do manually.

The robot, which is named “Bernie”, works by separating DNA molecules of a specific size from the mixture of impurities. It runs in two pre-programmed modes: the first is the removal of short DNA from the solution, keeping longer, desired DNA in. The second involves removing DNA molecules that are either too long or too short, leaving DNA only of the right size.

“If this machine can free only an hour per week for an average biologist, this means an average grad student has an extra 250-300 hours for their PhD to do something cooler than manually purifying DNA. This means that the scientists have extra 15 million hours per year in the US alone,” says Sergii Pochekailov, one of the scientists working on Bernie.

Robots that automatically purify DNA already exist and are priced at around €34000 or higher. For the Kickstarter pledges, Cartesian will offer their solution at €1350; after that, the final version will cost €2500.

The product is now live on Kickstarter.

Written By: Katrina Lane

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