DIYbio:Notebook/Open Thermal Cycler/Specifications

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"the brain"

  1. (fenn)ATmega48 20MHz microcontroller, easy to interface to sensors and relays; can be configured as an insecure webserver and/or USB device with the addition of some inexpensive external electronics; intermediate difficulty to program $2.58 @ digikey
  2. AT91SAM7S256, an ARM system on chip with integrated ethernet and usb "slave" support, rather advanced programming/development, might be able to implement encryption protocols if you knew what you were doing $12.58 @ digikey
  3. makezine controller; same as above but already soldered and comes with a simple operating system and connectors, fairly easy to program; you'd have to make sure that the included AES encryption code is actually secure $109.00 @
  4. TS-7200 full blown linux server running debian, in a tiny package, easy to program, perhaps too $149 @
  5. i should add Arduino to this list; basically the same as atmega48 but already soldered to the board; with usb connector $30 @ sparkfun + $45 for ethernet module
  6. Tom: What about the linux "wall wart?" Response by fenn: it has no i/o so you're back to square one (equivalent to a laptop with USB port and ethernet)

the interface

1. I don't see much use for pictures or animations but something similar to an HTML form might make a lot of biologists happy. Drop down boxes, text fields, etc. That way I could enter numbers into boxes...

Step 1: "95C" "00:30"
Step 2: "55C" "00:30"
Step 3: "72C" "02:00"
Goto Step1 25 times
Step 4: "4C" forever

I guess a progress bar wouldn't hurt but a count-down timer would suffice just as well. Anything involving a full QWERTY keyboard would be a huge improvement over most thermocycler interfaces. -- Cory Tobin

2. When you feel like just clicking, use your "Biobricks" profile that you download from It's preconfigured to the Taq you're using. Click the profile and go! The same with the "Bioweather Maps" profile that you get from Jason Bobe -- amplify ribosomal RNA. Or, if you're amplifying another sequence, you copy/paste in your primer sequences and the PCR machine does the rest of the calculations. -- Tito Jankowski