Augmented Reality Solutions for Organ-on-Chip applications

Can you imagine a world where biologists will develop medicines directly from home using Augmented and Virtual Reality solutions?

That world is almost here.

Last week we interviewed our CTO, Nikolas Gaio and Emanuele Borasio, CEO and founder of

weAR s.r.l. to discuss the "ARinBio" project. A collaboration funded by DIGIBCUBE

that aims to develop an Augmented Reality solution for Bi/ond's Organ-on-Chip system.

How can Augmented Reality make biological R&D faster and more accurate?

The biotech field just found an ally in Augmented Reality (AR), and two companies are looking for researchers to start a pilot.

Could you imagine a biologist developing and testing a new drug from home?

Emanuele Borasio, CEO and founder at weAR and Nikolas Gaio, co-founder at Bi/ond, have a clear vision for their ambitious project: enable biologists to process data, perform experiments and collaborate by using AR and Virtual Reality (VR).

The project is called ARinBIO, and it is as ambitious as realistic.

AR and VR are already used in several fields, such as pilot training and supporting surgeons.

How can AR contribute to new drug discoveries and developing new solutions in biotech?

Emanuele Borasio (EB): Immersive technologies such as AR ad VR have been used since the ‘60, the problem was the lack of an appropriate hosting device. Now, everyone can acquire accurate devices like Oculus Quest, and you can share virtual content with a large audience.

You can use immersive technology to fix problems inside devices, and by using AR glasses you can have a clear overview of the instruction manual while you are performing a procedure.

You can represent a lot of information in real-time by pointing your device, putting on glasses, and seeing how to fix a problem.

You can even enter a virtual reality room where you can collaborate and work on building up a piece of machine together.

How can AR support biologists and biotech? And what has been done so far?

With AR, researchers can see the information appearing next to advanced tools like Organ-on-Chips (OOC), check the user manual and upload data.

Nikolas Gaio (NG): I believe that AR and VR in biotech could enable a new way to visualize data and make decisions in the biological lab. Biologists will be able to inspect more data in parallel, and understand what is happening to some samples without going back and forth to the lab. The intermediate and manual steps required to perform an experiment are actually making the process more prone to error by delaying the biologists’ decision.

In many cases, biologists are taking hundreds of pictures and graphs hosted on a PC that is not in the lab. With AR they could enter the images gallery without moving. This new approach will minimize the time while increasing the accuracy.

We believe that one day those data could also enable us to predict results and visualize the prediction through the glasses or a tablet.

Streamlining every step in the biological labs could also get us a step closer to personalized medicine, which requires even more accurate data. Our aim is to help biologists to handle the growing amount of data and empower them to perform personalized testing with a high level of accuracy.

You are now launching the ARinBIO project. What is it about and how are you going to collaborate if you are in different countries?

ARinBIO started from the needs of our customers, which are working on Organ-on-chip and in vitro models. Those researchers are looking for adding more complexity in their model by collecting data from sensors, while using a simple procedure to perform their tests.

Thanks to the experiences of our customers, we had the idea of using AR to enable complexity by using intuitive tools.

We approached weAR suggesting this project, and they were enthusiastic to collaborate with us. After that, we applied and received a European grant from the DIGIBCUBE ( to support our activities.

We are looking for early adopters: biologists working with OOC technology willing to use this prototype to make their research more effective and their results more predictable.

Everyone following this description is welcome.

EB: At weAR, we have been already testing our technology with surgeons operating hands-free on a 3D model of a human body. The results are astonishing.

Indeed, the use of smart glasses will enable biologists to operate hands-free, far away from the lab, or even by working from home. Our aim is to speed up the development of personalized medicine with a tool that enables complexity with an intuitive user experience.

How do you see AR and biotech finding solutions together?

EB: AR is a shortcut to communicate better, faster and more efficiently. In the near future, I see a combined use of human factors and AI to solve critical issues while operating safely. Operating with AI requires more data for training the algorithms, so we’ll need to use AR in OOC for a while to collect the information and eventually enable AI in the lab to make better and more accurate suggestions.

NG: We could see a future where biologists won’t necessarily need to enter the lab. A virtual reality solution will enable biologists to control the lab from the office. This would cut the costs and the risks of performing experiments in the lab with viruses, and empower biologists to use more time to elaborate the results instead of performing the experiment.

The combination of OOC technology and AR will radically change the approach to drug testing and data management in the biotech field. Bi/ond and weAR are ready to launch the pilot and willing to collaborate with ambitious researchers to make the next step towards better, more accurate, and personalized medicine.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 824920.

Winner of #OOCtransition initiative

Image credits: Dave Gudridge | The Francis Crick Institute

Last November, we launched the #OOCtransition initiative to promote and accelerate the development of Organ-on-Chip models with the potential to reduce and replace animal testing.

Researchers from all over Europe submitted their abstracts. After an accurate selection, the Bi/ond team selected the winner: the Tedesco Laboratory at University College London & The Francis Crick Institute (London, UK).

We had the opportunity to interview Francesco Tedesco, and discuss with him the transition from animal-based models to organ-on-chip methods.

Your group is focused on skeletal muscle regeneration. Which are the current main challenges in the field?

We are interested in skeletal muscle diseases, especially in severe neuromuscular diseases of childhood, but the same tools we have developed over the last few years can also be translated for other conditions, such as muscle injuries, sarcopenia or cachexia.

The field is vast and there are a number of challenges, including the ones related to modeling these diseases. One of them is the lack of cells we can use to perform experiments. There are many limits connected to the use of biopsy-derived cells, such as the limited amount of material and the short life span of the cells. This is why we developed specific strategies based upon pluripotent stem cells. Pluripotent cells give us an unlimited source of cells that we could then differentiate into muscle. These cell cultures are patient-specific and give us the opportunity to develop in vitro models of human muscle disease with higher fidelity than what we used to do before. Indeed we have developed strategies to make a tridimensional patient-specific muscle in the lab, which we can use to model muscle diseases with high fidelity.

This is why we will combine our expertise in making a3D human skeletal muscle with Biond’s chip-based platforms, to develop a more complex system to model muscle structure, vascularization, delivering compounds, perfusion, and innervation.

You’re one of the lead researchers who established the London stem cell network, could you tell us more about this project?

The London stem cell network connects the main research institutes in London working on stem cell biology and regenerative medicine, including the Francis Crick Institute, UCL (University College London), King’s and Imperial Colleges and many more. The goal of the network is to connect scientists, share knowledge and present data at conferences and workshops.

How do you see the future of this field?

The OoC field is growing rapidly. There will be a significant reduction of animal-based research, although initially, we might still need to use a limited number of animal models on some occasions to validate those in vitro platforms. Overall, I think we will see more and more complex, quasi-vivo OoC platforms modelling human physiology and diseases.

How did you decide to transition to OOC method and what benefits do you experience?

There are a number of benefits from having a more reliable platform to model your disease of interest, and avoid relying on animal models. Besides ethical concerns, animal models also have some practical limitations, such as cost and the lack of accuracy in recapitulating some specific diseases. For instance, we work on a particular muscle disease that has a specific type of inheritance in humans, but in animals that genetic inheritance is completely different. 

The goal of my group is to “humanize” muscle models as much as possible, and I believe that new technologies are getting ready to support us. This is why I am really excited to start this collaboration with BI/OND and I am looking forward to achieving great results together!

UNIIQ Invests €250,000 in Bio-Tech Start-up BIOND Solutions

Delft, 8 October 2020 – BIOND Solutions (Bi/ond), a spin-off of Delft University of Technology, has developed a microchip that can nourish, stimulate and monitor tissues and cells. The company has just secured €250,000 of growth capital from early-stage investment fund UNIIQ. Bi/ond will use part of the investment to expand its already strong team with engineers to work on scaling up the highly promising technology. It will also invest in research and development and intellectual property activities. The investment was announced digitally by Bas Vollebregt, member of Delft city council.

Going beyond                                   

Humans are all different in unique ways, but modern medical treatments ignore genetic variations among individuals. People of different ethnicities, genders and ages have to take drugs that were developed based on genetic criteria entirely different from their own.

Moreover, current research methodologies for developing cures for diseases compel biologists to choose between two options: tests conducted on animals or in vitro studies involving cells cultivated in labware such as petri dishes. Both of these approaches do not sufficiently address human diversity. They fail to adequately predict what will happen in people because the environment created for the cells does not sufficiently resemble conditions in the human body. Bi/ond has devised a tool to overcome this problem.

The power of microelectronics

Founded in 2017, Bi/ond has developed a computer chip and platform where biologists can place an individual’s cells. The microchip nourishes, stimulates and monitors the cells as though they were in the body. Bi/ond’s patented organ-on-chip technology allows treatment to be optimised for different applications, including heart, lung, brain and cancer tissues. These dynamic functionalities allow researchers to find the right medicine for a specific individual, paving the way for personalised medicine. The product’s uniqueness derives from the power of microelectronics.

Bi/ond’s relatively cheap and highly customisable technology can be used to conduct ground-breaking research by growing 3D cell cultures in an environment that mimics the human body. Organ-on-chip is a very promising methodology that is expected to lead to improved success in drug development, lower costs and less animal testing.

Step forward

Two of Bi/ond’s co-founders, CSO William Fausto Quiros Solano and CTO Nikolas Gaio, possess in-depth knowledge of microelectronics and experience with biological solutions. Their insights led to the technological breakthrough. “With our product, we aim to bridge the gap between biology and engineering”, Nikolas Gaio explains. “To build that bridge, we currently have a diverse, interdisciplinary team of six members.” Bi/ond will use part of the €250,000 investment to expand its team with engineers who will work on scaling up the product.

The company’s third co-founder, CEO Cinzia Silvestri, is delighted with UNIIQ’s confidence in Bi/ond’s team and technology: “Thanks to the investment, we can strengthen product development, further invest in our IP portfolio and broaden our customer base. Prestigious hospitals and universities in Europe are already using our product for various purposes, including assessing chemotherapies and studying rare diseases. We want to provide a reliable tool for biologists to develop personalised, inclusive drug testing. This investment is a step towards achieving that goal.”

Hans Dreijklufft, fund manager at UNIIQ: “By developing personalised medicine and reducing animal testing, organ-on-chip technology has the potential to significantly impact human health and animal well-being. We are therefore very happy to invest in Bi/ond. The company’s strong, diverse team is active in many national and European consortia and able to connect with big players in the medical and research world. UNIIQ is pleased to finance this spin-off of Delft University of Technology to help it grow and develop its advanced chip and plate application.”

For more information on this topic, please contact:


Cinzia Silvestri





Ludolf Stavenga

Investment Manager

+31 6 535 98 266

About Bi/ond

Bio-tech company Bi/ond was founded in 2017 to improve medical treatment for millions of patients by developing innovative hardware solutions for organ-on-chip applications. Its customisable microchips and platform technology can be used to nourish, stimulate and monitor tissues and cells, facilitating biomedical research that reflects humanity’s natural diversity. This allows for more accurate drug testing and simulations of any tissue type, paving the way for personalised medicine. Based in Delft, the Netherlands, Bi/ond provides its lab technology to some of the top hospitals in Europe and collaborates with many technical institutes and research centres.


UNIIQ is a €22 million investment fund focused on the proof-of-concept phase, which helps entrepreneurs in West Holland bring their unique innovation to market faster. UNIIQ offers entrepreneurs the seed capital to achieve their plans and bridge the riskiest phase from concept to promising business. A consortium, including Erasmus MC, TU Delft, Leiden University and the regional development agency InnovationQuarter, created the fund. UNIIQ is made possible by the European Union, the Province of South Holland and the municipalities of Rotterdam, The Hague and Leiden. InnovationQuarter is responsible for the fund management.

Watch a short introduction to UNIIQ here:

Microtas Conference 2020

This upcoming October 4 – 9, Bi/ond will have the amazing opportunity to sponsor and be an exhibitor on:

The 24th International Conference on Miniaturized Systems for Chemistry and Life Sciences: μTas 2020


During the conference, topics such as Fundamentals in Microfluidics/Nanofluidics, Micro Engineering, Integrated Microfluidic Platforms, Organ-on-Chips, and personalized Medicine and its applications will be covered. 


  • Monday, October 5 (11:10 US Eastern / 17:10 CET),Industrial Stage 2.

Our CTO and Co-founder, Nikolas Gaio, will provide a 20 min demo of our system with a 5 minutes live Q&A. 

  • Thursday, October 8 (11:15 US Eastern / 17:15 CET)

Our Field Application Scientist, Amr Othman, will be present in the interactive poster session:


together with a second live Q&A session.


The MicroTas conference is aimed specifically for the scientific community. Featuring important speakers and activities focused towards solutions on miniaturized life sciences and chemical sciences. 


For more information and registration, please visit: