By Aaron Krol
December 22, 2014 | The
black boxes from Oxford Nanopore Technologies arrive in the mail in FedEx
envelopes, looking a bit like individually packaged bars of soap. Oxford Nanopore
started shipping its first products this April, and the company has gone to
some trouble to make the packaging feel like any other consumer electronic. An
early access customer opening one of the boxes will find a molded plastic inlay,
a carefully folded USB cable, and a device called the MinION, a three-inch-long
gadget with flashing LED lights in three colors.
The lights might strike some users as a little hokey, giving
the instrument the vibe of a prop from a ‘60s sci fi movie. Then again, that’s
a pretty fair description of the MinION, a DNA sequencer so small it could
easily be confused with a thumb drive or an off-brand mp3 player.
To Nick Loman, a