Hardware implementation


The biosensor we designed is placed in a stick-like structure that can be plunged into the soil and left for between approximately 24-48 hours. After this period, the intensity of specific color indicators given by bacteria in the stick can be observed against a color spectrum to ascertain chances of gold presence in a prospected area.


Figure 2: Picture of Lighted Stick



Having validated the need for mining companies and small-scale miners for faster, more affordable, and more accurate early-stage gold prospecting methods, Team AshesiGhana embarked on a quest to develop and deliver a solution by leveraging Synthetic Biology. In approaching the journey, the team used design thinking tools [feasibility, viability, and desirability] and the lean startup methodology [build/design, measure, and learn], which kept the users and stakeholders engaged throughout the journey.

The team is currently working on the laboratory proof of concept for the proposed Biosensor but based on the interactions we have had with our various stakeholders, we have come up with a proposed implementation plan – the Bio-stick.


To ensure that our Bio-sensor implementation is feasible, viable, and desirable we:

  • i. Checked for Feasibility – Our team researched current Synthetic Biology applications and our laboratory capacity.
  • ii Checked for Viability – We considered the sustainability of the Bio-sensor adoption model by considering the method of deployment (Stick) and materials (PVC, UV LEDs) versus the potential users, small-scale miners, and large-scale mining companies.
  • iii. Checked for Desirability – We contrasted our Biosensor and its ability to enable

We did this by adopting the lean research model and design thinking methodology.

Figure 3: (Jubility,n.d) Lean Startup Method: Build, Measure, Learn

Thus, the team incorporated the feedback into the design and redesigned the biosensor to be deployed in a stick. More than 90% of the stakeholders shared with this design have indicated that they are willing to patronize the stick gold Biosensor once it’s launched into the market

Figure 4: How iteration influenced our implementation


To ensure that our Bio-sensor implementation is feasible, viable, and desirable we:

  • βœ… Having validated the Biosensor’s usability and desirability with the users, the team has begun working on the laboratory proof of concept.
  • βœ… We have split of engineering teams into 2:

Wet lab- Working on proof of concepts and in-lab repeatable models to ensure sustainable production and distribution of the Biosensor.

Hardware- The team is working on developing the physical stick which will serve as a secure physical structure to ensure easy and safe deployment of the Biosensor. The stick is armed with UV-LEDs which will be activated after exploration and will activate the UV-autolytic kill switch in the engineered e-coli cells in the biosensor as a complementary security measure to ensure no escapes to the environment after use. The stick is ready.


With the validated stick Biosensor design, the team has projected a business for its use and adoption into the market.

  • πŸ‘‰πŸ½ Given the environmental safety concerns that come with deploying genetically engineered species into the environment, the team incorporated security features in the Bio-sensor design to eliminate survival chances of engineered cells outside the hydrogel containment however, to further secure responsible adoption the team is planning on extending and negotiating the partnership with Minerals Commission of Ghana.
  • πŸ‘‰πŸ½ The Minerals commission will ensure that the Biosensors are sold to only registered mining entities that conform to standardized deployment procedures.
  • πŸ‘‰πŸ½ With this plan the minerals commission will serve as our primary channel to reach potential customers upon launch.
  • πŸ‘‰πŸ½ The projected standardized deployment strategy will include:
  • i. marking areas to be prospected,
  • ii. putting security in the area during the prospecting time frame
  • iii. activate UV-LEDs on the sticks after prospecting


  • ✍🏽 The team is considering the sustainability of the payment model with the users which could be subscription or transaction
  • ✍🏽 Costs involved in delivering the Biosensor given the need to maintain optimal conditions for bacteria which will call upon special transport and storage facilities which are most likely to be laboratories.


Jubility. (n.d.). Lean Startup Method: Build, Measure, Learn [Pinterest post]. Pinterest. Retrieved October 10, 2022, from