Measuring algae with the Photosynq

There’s tons of new stuff, but to start here’s a quick list:

1. From Greg’s nerd nite talk we scooped up Talia, a new volunteer helping develop the app! And we spoke at MSU Global‘s Fanning the Flames about our project and the concept of open commercialization generally (click here for a link to the video) – from there we picked up Patrick Hayes who’s going to help us with marketing and social media!

2. We’re laying the groundwork with MSU to figure out how we’re going to get the finished unit out into the world, patent and license free.

3. The Photosynq device can now communicate with some (not all) cell phones and tablets via USB serial port, using a program like Slick Labs USB to Serial program, which allows you to both send a signal and receive a signal to the Photosynq. And we’ve got a few additional interesting protocols which are still under development but show a lot of promise.

4. We’ve got some great looking data by taking photosynthesis measurements of our algae bioreactors. We can clearly see the difference in the rate of photosynthesis from the top of the column (where it’s very bright) to the bottom (where it’s dark). This is information that no one has every really seen in this way. Previously, you had to take individual samples from each level and measure them in an external machine. Now, we can continuously measure photosynthesis throughout the culture in real time.

The setup is a bit messy…

There is actually a Photosynq device and a photobioreactor somewhere among the cord maze…

But the data looks pretty good! Dave and Ben recently presented some initial findings at the International Conference on Algal Biomass, Biofuels, and Bioproducts. You can always keep up with the science end by checking the documents at our project page at Open Design Engine here. Some stuff gets delayed to go to professional journals, but I do the best I can to shovel stuff straight on to ODE as fast as possible!

But we still have a ways to go before it’s as clean as the data from the benchtop fluorescence unit in the lab – in the graph below you can see that the Photosynq signal is much noisier than the benchtop unit called Ideaspec (the detector response is much wigglier — don’t mind that the size is different – the key is the noisiness).

The basic response is similar (low signal, high signal, low signal) but the photosynq line is noisy)


Ok – that’s enough for one post. More soon!

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