Founding developers Harrison Steel, Robert Habgood, Antonis Papachristodoulou

Accessories for Chi.Bio
  • Chi.Bio Pump Set (Pack of 4 - US$169/unit) - $676.00 USD (details)
  • Chi.Bio Pump Set (Pack of 7 - US$145/unit) - $1,015.00 USD (details)
  • Chi.Bio Reactor (Pack of 4 - US$624/unit) - $2,496.00 USD (details)
  • Chi.Bio Reactor (Pack of 7 - US$570/unit) - $3,990.00 USD (details)

Founding developers Harrison Steel, Robert Habgood, Antonis Papachristodoulou

Chi.Bio was created by an engineering PhD Student, Harrison Steel, together with postdoctoral researcher Dr Robert Habgood and Professor Antonis Papachristodoulou at the University of Oxford. The platform was initially developed to assist the inventors with their own research in synthetic biology, and was then developed into an open-source project due to widespread demand for its capabilities.

For instructions on how to operate Chi.Bio please see the Operation Manual

Chi.Bio is an all-in-one experimental automation device for characterisation and manipulation of biological systems. Its broad feature set allows researchers to perform and automate many common experimental protocols from synthetic, systems, and evolutionary biology, without requiring any additional laboratory hardware. It can operate as a Turbidosotat or Chemostat to regulate cell growth, whilst providing heating, stirring, measurement of multiple fluorescence proteins, and optogenetic/UV/daylight inputs.

By combining regulation of biological parameters of interest and accurate measurement into a single platform Chi.Bio facilitates reliable and repeatable experimental procedures, which have long been recognised as a major challenge for biological science research.

Up to eight Chi.Bio reactor units can interface with each control computer, which runs the platform’s open-source operating system (developed in Python). A web interface (accessible on a connected PC or network) plots data in real-time as it is collected, and allows users to change and control ongoing experiments.


  • Culture temperature regulation from ambient temperature to 55 °C
  • Magnetic stirring with adjustable speed
  • Measurement of culture optical density/growth rate
  • Measurement of multiple orthogonal fluorescent protein concentrations in situ
  • Actuation of optogenetic systems
  • UV LED (to encourage mutation) and 6500K daylight LED (for photosynthetic systems)
  • Growth regulation (turbidostat functionality) via measurement of culture optical density and input of fresh/removal of waste media
  • In silico control of biological systems by integration of multiple inputs/outputs
  • Dynamic culture variation/chemical induction using two additional input pumps


  • 12-25 ml working volume
  • Four direction- and speed-controllable peristaltic pumps per device. Pump boards can be stacked to save bench space
  • Six LED outputs of varying wavelength across the visible range, as well as 6500K daylight LED, 285nm UV LED
  • Optical output power-regulated laser diode
  • Spectrometer with nine measurement bands across the visible range, and integrated temperature calibration, adjustable gain, integration time, and aperture
  • Medical-grade Infrared Thermometer for measurement of culture temperature, and heat plate


  • 1 Main Reactor (incl. x1 glass vial and  x1 magnetic stir bar)
  • 1 Pump Set (with four peristaltic pumps)
  • 1 Control Computer (able to control up to eight Chi.Bio reactor/pump pairs).

The set includes USB cables and a power supply but does not include silicone tubing. Details about which ones to use can be found on the hardware page of the official Chi.Bio website. You can purchase additional reactors and pump sets as add-ons in packs of 4 or 7.


• Harrison Steel, Robert Habgood, Ciarán Kelly, Antonis Papachristodoulou. Chi.Bio: An open-source automated experimental platform for biological science research. BioRxiv.

• Harrison Steel, Robert Habgood, Ciarán Kelly, Antonis Papachristodoulou. In situ characterisation and manipulation of biological systems with Chi.Bio. PLoS Biol 18(7)

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