Decentralized Monitoring of Planarian Regeneration

A decentralized network of IoT monitoring devices designed to conduct Planarian flatworm regeneration and longevity studies.

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This project aims to build a decentralized network of devices that video track and share Planarian flatworm movements in a Petri dish to track the effect of regeneration events on longevity.

Planarian flatworms captured scientists' attention for their remarkable ability to regenerate after injury. A study even showed that regeneration events even cause old flatworms to appear and behave as young adults again. The full extent of this rejuvenation side effect has, to our knowledge, not been carried out past 36 months. 

Longevity studies are difficult to carry out because one mishap in a lab can ruin the study. Therefore, building devices to carry out longitudinal studies across multiple places, not only increases collaboration and learning, but also mitigates the risk of the entire study having to be restarted due to a single accident. 

This project aims to build devices that video track and share Planarian flatworm movements in a Petri dish. 

An Impetus Grant was generously awarded for this project to create and distribute an initial batch of devices. 

Please message me if you would like to contribute and/or participate in this decentralized science study. The Levin Lab at Tufts University has already used learnings from the Planarian flatworm to achieve limb regrowth in frogs (which do not normally regenerate) and is working on carrying out the approach in mammals.

We hope decentralized studies can help progress the next generation of biomedicine breakthroughs to be more community-driven. Join the movement at CrosstalkBio.

On the technical side, this project plans to use a Raspberry Pi camera 2 NoIR for video capture. A 3D printable cover for keeping the camera in place and the Petri dish in a dark environment. And, lastly use the InterPlanetary File System (IPFS) for data sharing.

  • Upgrade to Raspberry PI v3 NOIR Camera fixed issues

    The Technocrat06/21/2024 at 19:29 0 comments

    Updating to Raspberry PI v3 NOIR camera had a huge improvement in color and quality. Almost makes me wonder if my Raspberry PI v2 NOIR camera had a defect. Below is new image from the device. Notice the blue tinge and reflections are mostly gone. 

  • Python Simulation of Light Coverage on a Petri Dish

    The Technocrat05/02/2024 at 20:42 0 comments

    I was getting a lot of glare with the IR emitting LED above the petri dish. I read that moving the LEDs to the side to have a 45 degree angle of incidence would reduce glare.

    To figure out the placement of the LEDs I wrote a python script that visualized the light coverage. 

    My next step is to add a top down view to the script

  • First pass of adding IR emitter

    The Technocrat04/17/2024 at 03:37 0 comments

    I found a 940 nm LED IR emitter at the maker space that is able to illuminate the Petri dish cover. At first I thought it was not working, but then another member at the maker space helped me realize the IR emitter has a narrow emittance band (18 degrees). After pointing the IR LED towards the bottom I was able to see objects inside the cover.

    Fig 1)

    Fig 1: 90 degree LED position is the left image and 45 degree LED position is the right image.

    Interestingly the flatworms who up very bright in the IR light. 

    Fig 2)

    Fig 2: Hard to tell if the bright spots are the flatworms or artifacts of the water in the Petri dish.

    Possible improvements

    * Try a ~840 nm LED for increased brightness

    * Add one or two more IR emitters

    * Add sockets into the cover roof for the IR emitters

    * Add a "lens shroud" around the camera hole opening

View all 3 project logs

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