Chromatiscope turns an ordinary phone into a sophisticated scientific instrument to give students hands-on lab experience in the classroom.

By Holly Ober

A team composed of current Biomedical Engineering students and alumni won second in a Big Bang! Pitch & Poster Competition event for a device they created called “Chromatiscope”. Chromatiscope uses a web app to harness the smartphone’s sensors to help teachers provide hands-on science laboratory experiences for their students. It facilitates this by selling devices, curriculum, and software to teachers, creating classrooms with access to basic light-measuring instruments such as colorimetery, spectrophotometry, fluorometry, and microscopy. Users will subscribe for the web app services. Chromatiscope currently has the competitive advantage of being a low cost solution, achieved by its ability to combine multiple laboratory functionalities into one smartphone-driven device.

The group, composed of BME alumni Nick Dao and Alexander Godbout, along with current BME major Lillian Eng and Biological Systems Engineering major, Lisa Illes, developed their prototype in TEAM’s Molecluar Prototyping and Biological Innovation Laboratory (MPBIL) under the guidance of MPBIL Professor Marc Facciotti and MPBIL manager Andrew Yao.

“We make an affordable smartphone-driven “lab in a box” that will bring high-end laboratory devices to the general public, starting with the education system,” said Alexander Godbout.

They plan to keep hardware costs minimal by focusing instead on developing software that brings new functionality to the device. Software and curriculum subscriptions will also be the primary source of revenue. They plan on bringing the device to market, allowing both teachers and parents to purchase the Chromatiscope online or at retail stores. They seek seed funding and mentors that will help accelerate the company’s growth.

The Big Bang! Pitch & Poster Competition is designed to help contestants define their business idea and communicate it concisely through a variety of mediums. Entries are judged by a panel of independent professionals involved in entrepreneurship. Judges are a mix of successful entrepreneurs, alumni, venture capitalists, angel investors or professional service providers working within the university or business community.