Team:ETH Zurich

Uptake
Sensing
Imaging
Processing
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Challenges
Biosensor

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Diversity

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Autonomy

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Our Solution
The Robot
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Uptake
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As a first step, the robot samples the air around it. The air is then bubbled into water to dissolve contained volatile compounds. The obtained solution is then pumped into the microfluidic chip. There, they are brought into contact with the bacteria.
Sensing
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(1) Bacteria have a natural Tar receptor that can sense as- partate. They respond via post-translational modification steps (phosphorylation or methylation) which change their movement from tumbling to swimming.
(2)Luciferase is split into two halves. One half is attached to OmpR that gets activated by a synthetic Tar-EnvZ chimera. The other half is attached to the DNA via TetR next to the OmpR-binding site. When OmpR gets activated, it binds to the DNA and the luciferase re-assembles, resulting in the emission of light.
Imaging
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We implement a cutting edge technology called lensless imaging in a cost effective DIY approach. This enables us to read the movement of the bacteria without the use of a traditional microscope.
Processing
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We use a pattern recognition algorithm to detect the location of single cells. By tracking their posi- tion over time, we derive a speed curve corresponding to their motility. This speed curve is then used to infer the concentration of the sensed molecules and to direct the robot.
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