Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) has become an essential tool in countless labs, serving a key role in applications ranging from clinical diagnostics and biopharmaceutical research to next-generation sequencing and forensic testing. While invaluable for these applications, the size and cost of PCR instruments are limiting factors for use outside a traditional laboratory setting. For biologists performing work out in the field, students learning about life science in classrooms and astronauts conducting one-of-a-kind experiments within the confines of the International Space Station (ISS), accessible lightweight, mobile tools can expand the scope of what they can accomplish in their respective settings.
Ezequiel Alvarez Saavedra, an MIT graduate with a PhD in genetics, and Sebastian Kraves, who received his PhD in neurobiology from Harvard Medical School, recognized the barriers preventing many from harnessing the benefits of PCR technology, and envisioned a system both small enough to fit in your pocket and affordable enough to not burn a hole through it.
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