The OpenLabTools initiative aims to provide a forum and knowledge centre for the development of low cost and open access scientific tools, with an emphasis on undergraduate and graduate teaching and research. The programme is developed thanks to contributions from a number of MEng students (4-5 per year) and summer interns. We focus on establishing modular components commonly required for such tools; these include data acquisition, sensing, actuating, processing and 3D manufacturing. Protocols, designs and tutorials are published on this website. These components are subsequently combined to create a documented collection of instruments, to be developed and maintained by a community of undergraduate and graduate students of the University. Currently developed instruments include an automated microscope and a mechanical testing system.
We anticipate that the core tools will be rolled out in undergraduate laboratories from 2014 onwards. We would like to invite anybody interested in this programme to get in touch with us and explore ways to contribute, either by using the tools (once ready) or by supporting their development.
The programme benefits from the financial support of the University of Cambridge through the University's Learning and Teaching Innovation Fund. The Raspberry Pi foundation has also generously supported the initiative by funding five summer internships in 2013.