Why should consumer electronics be the only devices with compelling design? On Monday biotech company Fluidigm showed off a new genome testing product, a new website and a new logo, all designed by Valley design firm Fuseproject, which is led by designer Yves Behar (hear more from Behar at our Roadmap design tech conference next week).
The new genome gadget is called Juno, and its style is far more similar to the fuseproject’s Jawbone devices than it is to traditional lab genome testing computers. Researchers can use Juno to genotype DNA samples with a push of a button, in under three hours.
Fluidigm, based in south San Francisco, was founded in 1999 and went public in 2008. Its core technology is a chip called an integrated fluidic circuit, or IFC, which is like a semiconductor chip but is made of rubber instead of silicon and uses valves instead of transistors (the chip is being inserted in Juno in the above photo).
Using Fluidigm’s machines, researchers can pump fluid DNA samples repeatedly across the IFCs and turn them into data about the sample. Fluidigm says Juno can take “as little as 5.5 ng total input DNA and get 9,216 data points.”
Juno isn’t meant to just be cool looking. It’s supposed to create the same type of delight and ease that, say, Nest thermostat or iPhone users feel when using those products.”For this particular challenge, it needed to be done with some magic,” Fluidigm CEO Gajus Worthington said, “to somehow collapse all these difficult steps that needed to be performed with precision so that they were effectively invisible.”
Our theme for Roadmap this year is “invisible design,” and Behar, in conversation with Om Malik, will talk about this idea of making design invisible and having it recede into the background. Design has become more valued than ever before in Silicon Valley and the tech industry.
Fuseproject also redesigned Fluidigm’s website and logo and gave the company user experience parameters to design new products. Earlier this year Behar sold the majority share of fuseproject to Chinese marketing firm BlueFocus for a reported $46.7 million in cash.
Fluidigm reported strong earnings last week, with third quarter revenue at $29.6 million, compared to $18.3 million in the same period a year earlier. The company expects to generate between $114 million and $117 million for the full year.