Scientists at AI Biosciences, a company out of College Station, Texas, modified a 3D printer to perform automated nucleic acid extraction and DNA amplification, the crucial steps for DNA sequencing.
Typically, laboratory devices that perform extraction and amplification can cost tens of thousand of dollars. The hacked printer approach, on the other hand, costs in the hundreds of dollars.
Instead of the extruder that releases the melted plastic, the printer was outfitted with a 3D-printed magnetic particle processing attachment (MPPA) developed by AI Biosciences. The tip performs magnetic particle nucleic acid extraction and can process twelve sample within thirteen minutes.
The system also features a heated well plate within which polymerase chain reaction can be done using the water baths. The robotic printer was programmed to move the vials between the baths as needed.