Thermocyclers are an expensive piece of equipment designed to amplify segments of DNA via polymerase chain reaction (PCR), as well as other temperature-sensitive reactions. In other words, they are machines designed for biohacking DNA, which it does by using a thermal block with holes that are equipped with tubes containing the reaction mixture. The thermocycler then raises and lowers the temperature of the block in pre-programmed stages until the reaction occurs.
Normally, thermocyclers are large pieces of equipment comparable in size to a printer and take up a large portion of lab space. GaudiLabs’ PocketPCR, on the other hand, can accomplish the same function as its larger cousins, only it can fit inside your pocket. GaudiLabs describes the PocketPCR as “A low-cost, small size thermocycler capable of activating biological reactions such as polymerase chain reaction (PCR). PCR is a method widely used in molecular biology to make copies of a specific DNA segment. Applications of the technique include DNA cloning for sequencing, analysis of genetic fingerprints, amplification of ancient DNA, and gene cloning.”
The PocketPCR allows users to set cycle times individually, and temperatures can be controlled with great accuracy. The PocketPCR also can control PID temperatures at a range of 990C, and features resistive heating and assisted cooling. It can be powered from any 2A USB port and is equipped with 5 x 0.2ml PCR tubes. The PocketPCR comes in kit form and is available now on GaudiLabs’ product page (linked above) for about $109, and since it’s open-source, the company has uploaded the build files on their GitHub page for those who would like to create their own.