There can be no doubts that the convenience of development platforms like Arduino and Raspberry Pi have both done their bit to fuel interest in electronics and computer technology amongst young and old alike. For other scientific disciplines there is often little opportunity outside a laboratory environment to carry out practical experiments safely.

A new counter-top sized biolab called Amino could be just what the doctor ordered for anyone interested in bioengineering. According to their Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign the system enables anyone to grow living cells to create new and interesting things - like fragrances, flavours, materials, medicine, and more. Amino was started at the MIT Media Lab by the company’s founder Julie Legault. After experiencing the difficulties of learning synthetic biology from textbooks and online material, Julie decided to create a mini-lab that could help other people learn science by doing it.

Amino is a sophisticated piece of hardware with circulation and temperature controllers as well as sensors to keep tabs on how fast your microbes are growing and how much food they’re eating. It has modular chambers that allow you to swap in new microbe food and nutrients, pH balancing solutions, and even other chemicals that help control your DNA program in your microbe.

Amino has a screen providing real-time instructions and indicator lights to guide you through the creation process. The system reduces the size and complexity of large laboratory equipment into a counter-top sized system.

Back to electronics, in the Elektor Store you can find a fantastic 37-sensor kit for the Arduino, see the box below.