I’ve been a little quiet lately; some of that was end of the semester and family activities, but part of it was that I’ve been trying to put the finishing touches on a new project. I now think that OMIS – the open millifluidic inquiry system, is ready for display.
OMIS is a platform for exploring lab-on-a-chip technologies and miniaturized analysis systems. It is a 3D printed, Arduino-based science and engineering project that allows the end-user (student/teacher/hobbyist) to explore the science of fluids. The main features (at present) consist of a syringe pump constructed from 3D printed parts, an inexpensive stepper motor and some items from the local hardware store. The second part is a “millifluidic device” which is also 3D printed. OMIS is designed with learning and inquiry in mind, and all elements of the design have been created to encourage exploration.
In an effort to emphasize the integrated nature of science, I am taking a “systems” approach to OMIS. The project can be divided up into three broad categories
- Building OMIS (engineering design)
- Controlling OMIS (programming and physical computing)
- Using OMIS (chemistry and physics)
I hope this approach results in two outcomes: (1) end-users appreciate the interdisciplinary nature of scientific exploration and (2) educators integrating this tool into their curriculum can leverage the systems approach to promote teamwork and task distribution.
OMIS will be a long-term project for me, and I have created a separate page devoted to it. I have also released the project over at Thingiverse (so please comment on it and ‘like’ it there). Development is stored on Github, so if you are serious about building/using OMIS, be sure to head there for more information.
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