Chemostat (not your grandpa's bioreactor)
So anyone who was at Grindfest knows that we jammed on designing a piece of lab equipment called a chemostat.
For those of you without access to wikipedia, a chemostat is a self regulating bioreactor that uses a microcontrolled pump to add nutrients to the liquid that has your bacteria in it. What makes it cool is that the pump is regulated by using a small laser that takes cell density readings and adjusts the flow of nutrients accordingly. This allows for longer and more controlled growth with less plateaus and crashes in replication of cells.
This means that the device is prime from doing biosynthesis and even forced evolution of bacteria.
Here is the most engineer frindly design that I could find in the 10 seconds of Googling
Notice that it has all the parts, but doesnt show how they attach to a microcontroller.
This is one of the most important tools that you can have if you are doing biosynthesis.
It also costs a lot of money. Most of the time, labs end up building their own.
Anyone interested in this should start with this document
Notice that this chemostat is not microporccesor controlled. That means you end up having to fiddle with it a lot
Conceptually, the design is not that hard. If done well, the enitre thing could fit inside a shoebox, run by an arduino