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Strategic Network for Sensor Research

at Cambridge University

Interdisciplinary low-cost instrumentation

The Biomaker Challenge was a four-months programme during the summer 2017 fostering collaboration between life science researchers and engineers. Nearly 40 interdisciplinary teams had set themselves the task to design and build low-cost sensors and instruments for biology, e.g. colorimeters, imaging systems or microfluidic devices.


Submitted projects were judged by a panel of scientists and engineers. Teams from Cambridge University, the John Innes Centre at Norwich, the Earlham Institute and Royal College of Art were taking part in this challenge.

Collaborative projects

The projects covered many diverse areas, such as imaging, microfluidic devices and chemical sensors. Projects tapped into existing open technology standards, such as Arduino microcontrollers and the Raspberry Pi minicomputer. They allowed scientists with little or no electronics and programming experience to build useful instruments. Engineers, on the other hand, learned to appreciate the challenges biologists face in their research.

Too old or too busy to get involved in fun, yet serious, cross-disciplinary projects?

If you are a busy academic or researcher and think you don't have time or are too old to learn about microcontrollers and programming in Python then think again.

You can still have a go. It is fun!

Please contact Prof Jim Haseloff at the Department of Plant Sciences or Dr Oliver Hadeler at CamBridgeSens.

Latest news

European Research Council grants for CamBridgeSens researchers

12 December 2020

Silvia Vignolini and Tuomas Knowles have won ERC Consolidator Grants to work on the interaction between light and organisms and how proteins come together to form functional liquid organelles.

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10 July 2020

Artificial cell membranes on a chip combine biology and electronics to monitor how molecules enter our cells.

Sensors help understanding housing conditions in Mumbai

14 February 2020

Sensors help to understand the increasing energy needs of residents in Mumbai's slum rehabilitation housing and its poor inside air quality. Based on qualitative and quantitative research Cambridge architect and urban designer Ronita Bardhan has made suggestions on how to improve the living conditions of millions of people and at the same time reduce the environmental impact.