Author ORCID Identifier
Master of Science
Ding-Yu Fei, Ph.D.
The micropipette has been a consistent part of the laboratory analyst’s toolbox since its initial creation in the 1950’s. While some improvements have been made over the years, the general form of the device has largely remained the same. This stagnant design is a major cause of the high rate of repetitive stress injuries amongst laboratory analysts. Many of these injuries are in the wrist and hand due to the poor ergonomics of traditional pipettes. This research aims to improve the ergonomic design of the traditional pipette in addition to replacing an entire set of pipettes with a single device.
The key element of this device is the modular design for both ergonomics and function. The base structure of this device is an electronic pipette system using a stepper motor driven linear actuator controlled via the Arduino microcontroller. In traditional pipettes, one device is used for a specified range; however, this design uses interchangeable pipette cylinders in lieu of separate pipettes. The ergonomic design takes a similar approach utilizing customizable hand grips of various sizes. The aim is to reduce fatigue and chance of injury while catering towards individual users as opposed to the one-size-fits-most style of ergonomic designs.
The device was designed, fabricated, and assembled using a 3D printer and the Arduino microcontroller. The device was evaluated by two methods: a gravimetric pipette calibration to test performance and a hands-on survey from individuals within the laboratory sciences industry. Once calibrated, the device operated within acceptable limits for standardized laboratory use. Additionally, the feedback from the peer review was overwhelmingly positive.
While this device is currently in the proof-of-concept stage, the results of this research have shown that the design has exciting potential. Several further improvements have already been determined along with more intensive quantitative and qualitative evaluation methods to be used in the future.
© The Author
Is Part Of
VCU University Archives
Is Part Of
VCU Theses and Dissertations
Date of Submission
Available for download on Sunday, August 06, 2028