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Enabling Microfluidics: from Clean Rooms to Makerspaces
- Walsh, David I., Kong, David S., Murthy, Shashi K., Carr, Peter A.
- Trends in biotechnology 2017
- biologists, cutters, printers
- The traditional requirement for clean rooms and specialized skills has inhibited many biologists from pursuing new microfluidic innovations. Makerspaces provide a growing alternative to clean rooms: they provide low-cost access to fabrication equipment such as laser cutters, plotter cutters, and 3D printers; use commercially available materials; and attract a diverse community of product designers. This Opinion discusses the materials, tools, and building methodologies particularly suited for developing novel microfluidic devices in these spaces, with insight into biological applications and leveraging the maker community. The lower barrier to access of makerspaces ameliorates the otherwise poor accessibility and scalability of microfluidic prototyping.