Lab-on-a-chip devices leverage microfluidic technologies to enable chemical and biological processes at small scales. However, existing microfluidic channel networks are typically designed for implementation of a single function or well-defined protocol, and do not allow the flexibility and real-time experimental decision-making essential to many scientific applications.
We believe that reconfigurability and programmability of microfluidic platforms can open new functionalities that are beyond the reach of current lab-on-a-chip systems. We envision a fully reconfigurable microfluidic device, which can change its shape, flow pattern or function dynamically, thus allowing researchers to ‘put their hands’ into a microscale experiment and enabling real-time decision making.
In our work we explore different physical mechanisms that could enable such functionality and hope that many in the in the scientific community will join us in this efforts.