What is PocketPCR
About what a PCR is and how can you use it.

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On technical specifications and the design.

What is PocketPCR

The PocketPCR is a so called thermocycler used to activate biological reactions. To do so the device raises and lowers the temperature of the liquid in the small tubes. The polymerase chain reaction (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.

Simpler, smaller and more affordable. This ultra portable and compact thermocycler was designed with the goal to bring the cost down to affordable price for anyone who wants to do some Do-It-Your-Self biology with a DNA starter kit in his kitchen. The PocketPCR can be run from a simple USB power adapter. The device can be operated stand alone and all parameters can be set without the need of a computer or smartphone.

It is very nice.

Yanwu Guo, Head Engineer
University of Oslo (UiO)


Despite its small size, the PocketPCR is a full-fledged thermocycler with features like the large laboratory machines. Cycle times can be individually set and temperatures are controlled with a great accuracy. Fully compatible with standard plasticware and reagents.

  • PID temperature control
  • Temperature range: Ambient to 99°C
  • Technology: Resistive Heating, assisted cooling
  • USB powered from any 2A power adapter or computer port
  • Sample Tubes: 5 x 0.2ml PCR tubes
  • Small size of 33mm x 105mm x 50mm
  • Weight: 50 grams

This PCR machine does not have a heated lid and mineral oil is required to prevent sample evaporation. Mineral oil comes with machine.

How it works

The PocketPCR comes as a easy to assemble kit. The electronics and heat-block are pre-assembled and tested. Detailed instructions are included. An optional case can be 3D printed in any color you want from a 3D model file provided. The device can also be run without case. PocketPCR is fully open source. You find all the desgin files on GitHub https://github.com/GaudiLabs/PocketPCR

Comparison of a commercial PCR machine (Thermo SPRT001) with the PocketPCR show similar results. The PocketPCR with its small thermal mass heat-block finished the 30 cycles for the bacterial 16s rDNA amplification faster than the commercial machine.