The Case for Semi-Automated Design of Microfluidic Very Large Scale Integration (mVLSI) Chips
Jeffrey McDaniel, William H. Grover, and Philip Brisk. Design, Automation and Test in Europe (DATE) 1793–1798 (2017). PDF
In recent years, significant interest has emerged in the problem of fully automating the design of microfluidic very large scale integration (mVLSI) chips, a popular class of Lab-on-a-Chip (LoC) devices that can automatically execute a wide variety of biological assays. To date, this work has been carried out with little to no input from LoC designers. We conducted interviews with approximately 100 LoC designers, biologists, and chemists from academia and industry; uniformly, they expressed frustration with existing design solutions, primarily commercially available software such as AutoCAD and Solidworks; however, they expressed limited interest and considerable skepticism about the potential for “push-button” end-to-end automation. In response, we have developed a semi-automated mVLSI drawing tool that is designed specifically to address the pain points elucidated by our interviewees. We have used this tool to rapidly reproduce several previously published LoC architectures and generate fabrication ready specifications.