Sex my flies? What the heck? Well, it’s not a bad question… To explain, I’ll have to rewind a couple years, and give you a little background, too.
My name is Dave Zucker, and I’ve worked in the field of product design for about 15 years. I’ve designed autonomous underwater vehicles at Bluefin Robotics, equipment for kids to use in middle and high school science classes at CPO Science, innovative webcams and computer mice with Microsoft Hardware, and a robot bartender named Sir Mix-a-Bot, to name just a few projects of mine.
A couple years ago, I was talking with a biologist about building some custom hardware to help with her studies of behavior, with fruit flies as a model organism. That consulting work never really got off the ground, but we talked quite a bit about her research, and fruit flies in general. While I knew that Drosophila were widely used, I wasn’t aware of the manual labor involved, most notably sorting flies. It struck me that there really ought to be a better way to accomplish that task, and I started thinking about building an automated sorter.
Fast forward 18 months or so, when life found me moving from Seattle to the Boston area. With the shift came a great opportunity to put in some time on the sorting problem. From October, 2013, I gave myself 6 months of full-time work to build a prototype to prove that it was technically possible, and also evaluate the market and the business case for a sorting device. More on that later, but for now I’ll say that I found enough success both technically and identifying a market to keep things moving forward.
This blog is an opportunity for me to share stories along the way. The name is certainly tongue-in-cheek; it came from a late-night brainstorming session for company and website names. While it might not be the most “corporate” or “official” of names, it was too good to pass up and I bought the domain then and there. I’m happy to put it to good use as the home for this blog. You can find more official information on the FlySorter website, and if you’re interested in the sorter, I’d also encourage you to sign up for our mailing list (I promise no spam). If you have any questions, or there’s anything you’d like to read about in a future pose, feel free to leave a comment or send me an email.