Liquid-handling Lego robots and experiments for STEM education

gallery walk This is a station in the
Cyberlearning 2017 Gallery Walk.

Ingmar Riedel-Kruse
Photo of Liquid-handling Lego robots experiments

We present Lego Mindstorms based pipetting robots that reliably handle liquid volumes from 1 ml down to the sub-μl range and that operate on standard laboratory plasticware, such as cuvettes and multiwell plates. These robots can support a range of science and chemistry experiments for education and even research. Using standard, low-cost household consumables, programming pipetting routines, and modifying robot designs, we enabled a rich activity space. We successfully tested these activities in afterschool settings with elementary, middle, and high school students. These robots can bridge mechatronics and programming with wet and life sciences education. The simplest robot can be directly built from the widely used Lego Education EV3 core set alone, and we provide building and experiment instructions for dissemination and further development in education and research. (Gerber et al. PLoS Biology 2017