Joe Costello Design


Benchtop Cell sorter

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Our team was commissioned by a medical device start-up who wanted to upset the laboratory device market with a compact version of a cell-sorting device that used to take up whole sections of laboratories by replacing them with this benchtop-sized model instead. They wanted to eschew the medical device aesthetic in favor of simplicity and accessibility.



  • Sterilizable, corrosion-resistant materials required

  • Internal sheet-metal chassis design required

  • 12-inch touchscreen required

  • Operates in biohazard cabinet:
    maximum working dimensions of 50”W x 30”H x 24”D

  • 3 internal compartments: Sorting, fluidics, and computation

  • 3 operator/ technician access areas:

    Hourly – Sample loading
    Daily – Operational fluid loading
    Weekly – Pump maintenance

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Client-provided files

This assemblage was provided by the client for inclusion in the primary assembly.

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Sheet metal chassis

A structure was developed cooperatively with the client’s internal engineering team and our design and engineering team.



During our concept refinement phase, two conceptual directions were blended to achieve a functional form that was well-received by the client.

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Revision A

Meeting all the enclosure challenges at that time, the first revision of the machine met client ideals but drew out complications that weren’t understood initially.

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Revision B

Over a few subsequent months, the internals were rearranged and the enclosure grew in width to include superseded components.

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With and expected use of 1 to 2 times per hour, door access was afforded in the front, while keeping within the maximum operating dimensions, through a modified 4-bar hinge system.

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With a less frequent access necessary, the side and top doors were made for low-level maintenance and repair.

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Four trim levels were planned based on specific configurations for different laboratory use-cases.


Working Prototype

Finally, a full scale working prototype was made from folded sheet steel, machined aluminum, custom glass, 3-D printed panels, and off-the-shelf electronics.

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