The device

How to design GMOs/GMOs related products?

The design is evolving toward the use of new materials, as the GMOs (Genetic modified organism). It is also, learning about the necessities, constrains and possibilities that these materials offer. This year, we had the possibility to design/create a container for our biosensor project. This has a user-friendly purpose and a biosafety purpose. You can read more about biosafety in our Biosafety page.

In order to create our container we needed to established the necessities that it should responds to:

  • Be portable.
  • Helping to collect the sample.
  • Prevent contamination of the sample.
  • Contain a GMOs.

We stablished the moments/steps of the user experience:

  • Taking the sample.
  • Put in contact the GMOs with the sample, preventing GMOs releasing.
  • Visualize the sample.
  • Inactivation of the GMOs for proper disposal.

Once, stablished these parameters, we began the creative process, thinking about the best way to respond to all these constrains. We found that our best choice, because its simplicity and capacity to respond to our/client necessities, was a pen-like structure. Knowing this, we developed several design possibilities having this structure in mind.

Figure 1: Designing sketches done at the experimental design phase.
1. Mechanism design; 2. Sampling design; 3. Use proposal.

Developing the device/container

In order to develop a prototype for testing our pen-like structure and its interaction with the consumer, we needed to actually built it. We found that 3D printer could be a great way to materialize our device prototype. This will allow us to develop the testing phase of our design. The currently 3D printer state of art give you a lot of possibilities for doing tasks like this, but it also imposes some constrains, for example, there is not flexible material for 3D printer available neither transparent material. Our first prototype was developed for being printed in a 3D printer, considering the currently limitations of this technology.

Video 1: How to use the device: Step 1. Open the low part of the device for collecting the sample and immerse it into the drink; Step 2. Close the sampler. The teeth in the sampler will break the protection layer that keeps the GMOs isolated; Step 3. Turn up the device for visualization through the window made ​​of a translucent material; Step 4. If your sample gets read it means that your drink has more than 2% methanol in it (level accepted for human consumption); Step 5. Activate the chlorine dispenser. It will break two isolation layers, this will put the chlorine in contact with the GMOs-sample mixture, for the microorganism inactivation.

Video 2: How the device works: The device is divided into three compartments, one for the sample, one for the microorganism and another for the sample. At the beginning all the compartments are sealed by protection layers preventing their mixture. When you take the sample, the sampler seals the lower compartment and breaks the middle compartment layer, allowing the GMOs-sample contact. After visualizing the result you must push the plunger to inactivate the GMOs, this will break the others layers that contain the chlorine isolated.

Video 3: Device parts, these are the actual parts that are ready for being printed in a 3D printer to materialize our device prototype. Allowing us to continue with the user experimentation phase.

Prospective design

Going further in our design exploration, considering another production possibilities besides the 3D printer, we developed a second product, which was not constrained by the 3D printer limitations. This new product incorporated more advantages: was projected to be made of elastic transparent plastic, making it easier to use and visualize the result; it was also meant to be made by eco-friendly plastic, which means that it will be made using biodegradable plastic, this wont cause a biosafety issue because the device kept the dispositive to inactivate the GMOs after use.

Video 4: Prospective design: The final device will consists of a pen-like structure made of waterproof transparent material, divided into three compartments, initially isolated one from each other by a spherical layer that must be squeezed for releasing the content. The first compartment is for collecting the sample. The second corresponds to the GMOs container. The third compartment hold bleach for product disinfectant after use. Step 1. Put the device already squeezed inside the drink and collect the sample by releasing the pressure. Step2. After the sample is collected in the first slot, the sampler end should be blent, resulting in the closure of the device. Step 3. The second compartment is released by pressing the middle-part of the sampler, this put in contact the sample with the GMOs. Step 4. After checking the results, the third compartment shall be pressed, releasing the disinfectant material on the GMOs-sample mix. Once closed the device cannot be opened again.

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