Today we’re in Washington, D.C., at the Carnegie Institution for Science for the final step in the Tool Foundry accelerator selection process. The 12 cohort candidates are presenting their tool prototypes to the selection committee and answering questions about the potential impact of their tools and how they plan to scale. Based on the selection criteria — including ability, growth potential, and vision — five teams will be invited to join the accelerator. Each cohort team will receive $50,000 and access to educational sessions, mentorship, networking opportunities, and other resources.
The review panel and selection committee narrowed the field from 71 inventor teams. The 12 cohort candidates are working on a variety of tools to increase access to science in areas such as environmental monitoring and testing, biotechnology, microscopy, and biochemistry. They hail from seven different states and represent universities, labs, startups, and nonprofits.
Congratulations to the Tool Foundry cohort candidates:
A set of wirelessly coordinated low-cost devices to observe and manage environmental ecosystems automatically. Equatic technology can integrate with virtually any electronic sensor, control, motor, valve, or switch, and allows the devices to freely communicate with each other via an automatically established wireless mesh network.
Feles One Desktop Biolab, Feles
An all-in-one desktop biolab that integrates multiple scientific instruments, including a thermo-cycler, spectrometer, and centrifuge, to complete most molecular biology and synthetic biology experiments. Feles enables anyone to discover and invent with biotechnology.
GUAQ Air Quality Monitor, Michael Bartholic
A highly modular, “internet of things” air quality monitor that incorporates industry-leading sensor technology. This low-cost tool would allow communities around the world to monitor local air quality.
Hydra, Jason Aramburu
A low-cost multispectral camera and image analysis platform designed to integrate with irrigation system components to capture agricultural data. Hydra provides farmers and agronomists with a more tailored solution to measure and track plant health.
Plug-and-play sensor boards that can be used to build instruments and measure and control experiments in real-time, with no programming. InstrumentHub can control a number of local and remote sensors.
MakeItSo, University of Washington
An end-to-end, open-source solution for scripted, machine-driven processes that require the precision and accuracy of computer control. MakeItSo is a flexible platform for scientists to design and execute custom experiments with multiple tools.
Octopi, Prakash Lab
A modular and layered open-access microscope that can be designed and redesigned for specific applications, including by clinical practitioners and researchers for health and environmental monitoring.
On-Target Cards, Access Sensor Technologies
A credit card-sized sampling tool that enables anyone to perform fast, quantitative testing of multiple elements found in water and soil. The cards can be used to monitor any source of water, including streams, rivers, and lakes.
Paper Microscope Stand for Smartphones, Kelli Anderson
A 12-cent paper microscope stand that provides 10x magnification when attached to a user’s smartphone camera. The microscope requires no instructions or specialized expertise, allowing anyone to view and document microscopic details.
Punch Card Fluidics, George Korir
An open-source platform for conducting biochemical analyses of tiny amounts of liquid. The easily programmable system could be used in applications such as snake venom screens, chemistry education kits, disease diagnostics, environmental monitoring, and food safety testing.
An open-source, “internet of things” hardware kit and software platform for educational inquiry, environmental monitoring, and various forms of data-driven science. Sensaurus is easy to use and requires no soldering or programming.
Spectra, Mindseye Biomedical
A portable, open-source, biomedical imaging system that uses the same method as a CAT scan for real-time, inexpensive image reconstructions. Spectra enables anyone to explore medical physics from their own home, without expensive hospital equipment.
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