An open source electro-pneumatic controller for integrated microfluidic chips


Integrated microfluidic chips using multilayer valves (Quake's valves) make it possible to automate and parallelise quantitative biology experiments. Even if it is possible to buy or produce easily such microfluidic chips, there are no readily available solutions to control them, which slows their adoption by biologists. From our user experience, we have identified the key requirements to control such microfluidic systems, and our project aims at developing an open source, simple, cheap and robust controller. At the core of our design will be a 3D printed monolithic structure that will integrate the pneumatic and hydraulic circuitry, and the water reservoirs (circumventing the hassle of assembling watertight and pressure resistant parts). The electro-pneumatic actuation will be implemented using low-voltage solenoid valves driven by an arduino controller. The end user will be able to set and program the behaviours of the microfluidic valves in real time, either through a simple GUI on an integrated touchscreen or a usb-connected computer.

The Team

Adrien Hallou,
Cavendish Laboratory, Department of Physics, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, CB3 0HE, UK. Wellcome Trust/CRUK Gurdon Institute, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, CB2 1QN, UK. Wellcome Trust/MRC Stem Cell Institute, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, CB2 1QR, UK

CAD design, prototyping, 3D printing, computer programming & python GUI.

Jean-Baptiste Lugagne,
Laboratoire Matière et Systèmes Complexes, CNRS & Université Paris Diderot, 75013 Paris, France. INRIA Saclay – Ile-de-France and Université Paris Saclay, 91120 Palaiseau, France.

CAD design, electronics, arduino and touchscreen programming & matlab GUI.

Fabien Furfaro,
Laboratoire Matière et Systèmes Complexes, CNRS & Université Paris Diderot, 75013 Paris, France.

 CAD design, computer programming & python GUI, device assembly & microfluidic testing.

Project Outputs

Project Report.png

Project Report

Project report and documentation on Github


Project Proposal

Original proposal and application


Project Resources

Hardware Schematics

Bill of Materials

Software Code