Team:Peshawar/Applied Design

iGEM Peshawar

Applied Design

MAX (Metal Alert Xystem) is an Arduino based bacterial-human interface designed to enable engineered bacteria (biosensors) to deliver real time data to humans for the first time in the form of a text message. MAX brings together hardware, wetware and industrial design and applies it to a real-world problem: the lack of a reliable form of communication between engineered systems and the human scientist. With MAX, your bacteria can now ‘talk’ to you via text messages, reporting what they are detecting wherever you are on the globe!

Through synthetic biology, biosensors are the cutting edge of detection systems, especially for different kinds of pollution. However, reporter expression be it color, fluorescence or pH, is analog and obtaining results is time consuming and tedious. The table lists some common and uncommon reporters in iGEM and their measurement methods with time. Obtaining real time data is almost impossible with the most commonly used reporters.

IGEM Reporters Assay Time
Fluoroprotein Plate reader 1 Hour
Chromoprotein Spectrophotometer 0.5 Hours
Luciferase Plate reader 1 Hour
Other Reporters
pH pH Meter, Strip 20-5 Minutes
Electric pulse Measurement Electrodes Instant

MAX, however eliminates the need for meticulous assays and expensive analytical equipment by reporting change as it happens. MAX currently detects all RGB colors and intensity with sufficient accuracy and is programmed to send out text alerts to report change in either. It comes in a neat, easy to use and ingenious design that can fit 50ml falcon tubes of bacterial culture. Being completely modular, MAX can be equipped and programmed to detect virtually any kind of reporter expression and report it to the user at intervals of their choice. It can also be equipped for all kinds of chassis, including animals. A waterproof version of MAX for our Reporter Fish that will relay heavy metal detection alerts to fish farmers is currently under development.

This bacterial-human interface addresses the need of the hour for cheaper, faster, accurate and easy to use technology that can integrate with biology. Synthetic biology needs better and faster tools and MAX lies at the very intersection of engineering, IT, and biology and brings them all together to enable our engineered biological systems to do something no bacteria has ever done before – text an accurate data report to a human.

To watch the video and to learn more about MAX including a detailed step-by- step tutorial on how to build your own, visit the Hardware.