Advanced Liquid Logic had developed “digital microfluidics”, an innovative and efficient method of working with and analyzing very small amounts of blood and other liquids. They had created a rudimentary version of a benchtop device and needed to develop a commercially viable unit based upon already-defined mechanical components. This first product needed to solve several significant mechanical problems, differentiate Advanced Liquid Logic in their marketplace and begin to establish a brand language for future products.
We faced a significant challenge in keeping the instrument light-tight while in operating mode. Forma developed a sealing system to prevent light penetration from around the edges, as well as from the cord penetrations at the back of the unit. We accomplished this while ensuring that the unit would still have adequate ventilation to prevent overheating.
One of the product requirements was that a user be able to pipette a sample into the the instrument with the pipette held vertically and not at an angle. To accomplish this we developed an innovative hinge mechanism that allowed the door to swing completely out of the way within a limited space.
We developed a form for the instrument that echoed shape elements of Advanced Liquid Logic’s corporate logo, thus establishing a product language that is unified with the company’s overall marketing communications.
The unique shape of the instrument makes it stand out among other instruments on a crowded lab bench, reinforcing the company’s brand identity.
The design has been very successful for Advanced Liquid Logic, which was subsequently sold to Illumina. The company founder has established a new business, Baebies, and the microfluidic device has been cleared by the FDA and is Baebies flagship product.