Biomaker Meetup @ Makespace: March Update

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Jenny Molloy

Mar 26, 2022, 1:03:26 PMMar 26
to Biology Club
Hi All

A quick report on our March Biomaker Meetup and invite to RSVP to the next meetup on 20 April @ 19:30 in the Makespace Classroom

Turning a £120 beer fridge into a programmable incubator for bacteria
This project is progressing well and Richard and Tony spent the evening taking measurements and drawing up a shopping list to try two different approaches to controlling custom temperature profiles. We also found an identical incubator for sale (not programmable of course!) as a lab instrument for£455 exc VAT - lab mark up alert!

NEW PROJECT! Build a computer vision rig for imaging plant roots
Carlos discussed with us an idea for a new project merging hardware to take images and rotate a sample, computer vision like openCV and software to collect much better data on root development for improving plant science (and making it a lot less time consuming for the scientists who currently take a lot of manual photos!). We will have kit to get started with this at the next meetup.

Biomaker training and skill sharing
Ana and Storm made their Hello World Arduino debut working on LED control with no-code XOD. Noah got a soldering tutorial from Carlos and went on to attach the headers to his Raspberry Pi Pico. Biomaker Meetup is a great place to learn, even if you have no experience in electronics!

Report and tweets can be found here.
More photos from Biomaker Meetups here.

You are warmly invited to join us next time!




Jenny Molloy

Apr 2, 2022, 8:16:00 AMApr 2
to Biology Club, Jenny Molloy
To follow on in terms of progressing the incubator build at our next Meetup: @Tony @Richard if you send me the shopping lists you compiled within the next week, I can make sure the components arrive in time for 20 April!


Richard Hopper

Apr 2, 2022, 5:11:57 PMApr 2
to Jenny Molloy, Biology Club
Hello Jenny, was wondering about buying some modules but I think Tony was working on designing a PCB to fit in the space behind the existing controls, so there may be components needed for this. Guess he can specify what is needed. 


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Jenny Molloy

Apr 3, 2022, 9:35:43 AMApr 3
to Biology Club,, Biology Club, Jenny Molloy
I'm happy to go both routes and see what works - some people might prefer off-the-shelf and the custom PCB will be more elegant but possibly less attractive for a one-off hack (would be great for a kit though!)
If you shoot me RS/Farnell part numbers I can get them quite quickly.

Richard Hopper

Apr 10, 2022, 3:55:30 AMApr 10
to Jenny Molloy,, Biology Club
Hello Jenny, 

Pleased you can order the parts for the incubator project. You can send the parts to the university. The address is:
R. Hopper, 9 JJ Thomson Avenue, CB3 0FA

Assume the managers of the group can help publicise the event on the 20th.  

Best wishes,

On Sat, Apr 9, 2022 at 2:01 PM Jenny Molloy <> wrote:
Thanks Richard!
I'm using my university funding which means it is easier if I order them but if you send me your address I'll get them shipped to you.
PS feel free to keep the Biology Club mailing list cc'd to keep others in the loop and show things are "happening" that they might like to input into. People can subscribe to the digest version or ignore things if they are getting too many emails.

On Thu, Apr 7, 2022 at 9:37 PM Richard Hopper <> wrote:
Hello Jenny and Tony,

For the modular solution for the incubator project I have sketched out my idea
 here. I am proposing using an ESP32 module for control which can be programmed using the Arduino IDE and includes WiFi and Bluetooth, or we could initially connect using USB. It is actually pretty low cost (<£10).

The Peltier is driven using an H-bridge MOSFET driver which enables cooling and heating and fine control.
For temperature monitoring, we can use a sensor from Senserion which has an accuracy of 0.2 degC.
There is some existing code we could adapt.

I have listed the parts in the documents,
 from Ebay or Amazon. The cost is around £20 - £25. I have spare jumper wires etc. If you order the parts, can you ship to my address, or Makespace?

A PCB implementation would be neater, although this would take longer to develop but could be done in parallel. 


On Mon, Apr 4, 2022 at 9:29 PM Jenny Molloy <> wrote:
I think Tony's solution fits the long-term vision but if we can rig up something like an MVP that is slightly more off-the-shelf more rapidly with Richard's approach, I can start getting my lab to generate some bio data in the meantime and give some feedback :)

On Mon, Apr 4, 2022 at 4:16 PM Tony Naggs <> wrote:
hi Richard

I don't have any formally recorded requirements or specification from Jenny, basically I'm taking it (from informal conversations) as:
1. make this unit useful as a lab incubator, with several stored lab protocols;
2. but also there should be a straightforward kit or procedure to replicate the functionality for partners (in countries) where formal lab equipment is hard to source or others creating a (home?) lab on a tight budget.

So I want to document the baseline incubator, and probably end up with a kit of parts including PCBs to neatly add the desired functionality.


On Sun, 3 Apr 2022 at 22:03, Richard Hopper <> wrote:
Hello Jenny,

Am away without laptop and the note I made until tomorrow evening but can certainly follow up. 

Don't want to conflict with what Tony is doing but maybe we can test both solutions. 

Best wishes,

Jenny Molloy

Apr 11, 2022, 8:30:02 AMApr 11
to Richard Hopper,, Biology Club
Thanks Richard! We had to move the Biomaker Meetup to 27th due to Makespace members meeting but I'll make sure to send reminders to the group and will get these parts ordered ASAP. Excited to see this MVP version of the programmable bioincubator coming together - and with a follow up PCB planned by Tony!

If anyone else would like to meet up with us on 27th April, please do! 

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