Adaptive droplet routing in digital microfluidic biochips using deep reinforcement learning

Conference Paper

We present and investigate a novel application domain for deep reinforcement learning (RL): droplet routing on digital microfluidic biochips (DMFBs). A DMFB, composed of a twodimensional electrode array, manipulates discrete fluid droplets to automatically execute biochemical protocols such as point-of-care clinical diagnosis. However, a major concern associated with the use of DMFBs is that electrodes in a biochip can degrade over time. Droplet-transportation operations associated with the degraded electrodes can fail, thereby compromising the integrity of the bioassay outcome. We show that casting droplet transportation as an RL problem enables the training of deep network policies to capture the underlying health conditions of electrodes and provide reliable fluidic operations. We propose a new RLbased droplet-routing flow that can be used for various sizes of DMFBs, and demonstrate reliable execution of an epigenetic bioassay with the RL droplet router on a fabricated DMFB. To facilitate further research, we also present a simulation environment based on the OpenAI Gym Interface for RL-guided droplet-routing problems on DMFBs.

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Liang, TC; Zhong, Z; Bigdeli, Y; Ho, TY; Chakrabarty, K; Fair, R

Published Date

  • January 1, 2020

Published In

  • 37th International Conference on Machine Learning, Icml 2020

Volume / Issue

  • PartF168147-8 /

Start / End Page

  • 6006 - 6016

International Standard Book Number 13 (ISBN-13)

  • 9781713821120

Citation Source

  • Scopus