Category: Hardware

3D printed fly holder

Peter Weir has a nice write up and directions on how to make the fly holder from his recent paper. He has some other useful notes that are worth checking out too: github, blog, web page. Hat tip to John Tuthill (link)



Open source pipetting robot – aBioBot

aBioBot is an open source liquid handling (i.e., pipetting) robot platform with integrated machine vision. The system can deal with multiple tube types, and detect if a tip falls off. It also has an extensive web-based protocol authoring and monitoring software package.



DIY 1060 nm fiber laser

For less than $13,000, you can build your own fiber laser and get pretty nice images with it.



Open Ephys’ Cyclops LED driver

We covered Open Ephys back in 2013. They have well-developed devices for extracellular electrophysiology, and have some work on intracellular electrophysiology as well. Check out the Cyclops LED driver too. It continues to be an active community as evidenced by their wiki and forum.



Open source head-mounted calcium imaging

The UCLA Miniscope project is an NIH BRAIN Initiative-funded project to open source head-mounted calcium imaging devices. Their web site is online now. They’ll be releasing all of the information needed for making these devices yourself, including data analysis. They’ll also be holding workshops to train users. These devices compare favorably to commercial options. Inscopix



Phase retrieval

Microscopists are often adapting techniques pioneered for astronomy. Adaptive optics is the example you all probably know. Relatedly, phase retrieval was originally developed for telescopic imaging systems, and was adapted for high NA microscopic imaging systems by Mats Gustafsson and colleagues (Hanser et al. 2003 Optics Letters). A couple of excellent optics people, Kyle Douglass



Open source intrinsic imaging

“> Leonardo Lupori and Raffaele Mazziotti are two fellows in lab of the excellent Tommaso Pizzorusso. They have developed an intrinsic signal optical imaging rig and are sharing all of the materials. Here’s their web site with the resources and links. More on intrinsic imaging… Yet more again…



Coolant lines for lasers

Many lasers have baseplates with channels through which chilled water is pumped to dissipate heat and stabilize the temperature of the system. I haven’t had much trouble with the chillers and baseplates of Newport/Spectra-Physics systems. However, most of the Coherent Chameleon systems I’ve worked with (3 out of 4) have had problems with the water



A custom swivel/gimbal for luers

This from Matt Palmatier: Drug self-administration labs need swivels and there are plenty of medical devices (rotating luer fittings) that perform this function for pretty cheap. However, suppliers-that-shall-remain-nameless charge quite a bit for simple luer fittings that turn. For example, a disposable turning luer costs about $4. A drug self-administration swivel costs about $35. That’s



Raspberry Pi mini monitor

Labrigger has been experimenting with Raspberry Pis. We still find a lot of uses for Arduinos for little jobs around experimental rigs. Their simplicity and predictable performance (no background processes) make them easy to implement and reliable. Given how useful Arduinos have been, it stands to reason that something with more power, like a Raspberry



Inexpensive IR viewer options

From Benjamin Judkewitz: I needed an IR viewer to see a Ti:S beam and was really surprised to find that most viewers still sell for > 1000 € (or $). Visualizing NIR used to be really simple with smartphones (enabling public installations like this one by JPL/NASA), but that was before nearly all makers started



Lens designs

In the talk I gave at the Short Course at SfN 2014, I briefly discussed the process of optical system design. A common strategy is to start with a published design, or at least a general scheme (series of lens types), and then make modifications to fit the target application. Finding these published designs can



Embrio for LabVIEW like programming of Arduino hardware

Embrio isn’t completely open. They want to sell $50 licenses. Let’s get that out of the way first. However, it is an interesting alternative for programming Arduino hardware. It’s a visual programming environment, like LabVIEW. In some ways, it is richer than LabVIEW, and perhaps more comparable to MAX in that variable values can be



Sound dampening cabinets

Experiment rooms can get noisy, so Labrigger puts the noisy bits in sound dampening cabinets like these. A separate room could be ideal, but this works too. Just put all the noisy equipment (rackmount portions of Ti:Sapph laser systems, water chillers, or anything with noisy fans). There are lots of resellers. The one we used



Raspberry Pi 2 and Pi B plus kits for cheap

The Raspberry Pi 2 is here, and thus there are good deals on the Raspberry Pi B+. You’ll have to decide if any of these kits are a good deal for you. The Raspberry Pi 2 will be at the same price point ($35) as the prior generation. Anandtech has a nice rundown on this