The goal of Lucero is to create autonomous micromanipulation solutions for biological applications integrating optical manipulation, microfluidics, and machine intelligence. Single-cell analysis is critical in many biomedical applications, such as clinical trials, in-vitro fertilization, forensic analysis, and single-cell omics. While some techniques are already commercially available, single-cell approaches still have several limitations. Mechanical tools are invasive and prone to damage the cells. Labeled-sorting methods can affect cell viability for subsequent protocols. Non-invasive sorting procedures based on microfluidics require high amounts of cells and numerous repetitions to obtain a significant fraction of target cells.
Furthermore, in all cases, these methods require expert handling and are labor-intensive.
Lucero will provide a solution that overcomes these problems based on a smart optofluidic platform: contactless thanks to the use of optical tweezers, capable of controlling the local cellular environment thanks to the use of microfluidics, and capable of autonomous and accurate operation thanks to machine intelligence. Lucero will be compatible with standard microscopes already available in biomedical laboratories, completely automatize single-cell protocols, and, therefore, drastically lower the cost of biomedical research.