Commercial liquid handling robots are rarely appropriate when tasks change often, which is the case in the early stages of biochemical research. In order to address it, we have developed EvoBot, a liquid handling robot, which is open-source and employs a modular design. The combination of an open-source and a modular design is particularly powerful because functionality is divided into modules with simple, well-defined interfaces, hence customisation of modules is possible without detailed knowledge of the entire system. Furthermore, the modular design allows end-users to only produce and assemble the modules that are relevant for their specific application. Hence, time and money are not wasted on functionality that is not needed. Finally, modules can easily be reused. In this paper, we describe the EvoBot modular design and through scientific experiments such as basic liquid handling, nurturing of microbial fuel cells, and droplet chemotaxis experiments document how functionality is increased one module at a time with a significant amount of reuse. In addition to providing wet-labs with an extendible, open-source liquid handling robot, we also think that modularity is a key concept that is likely to be useful in other robots developed for scientific purposes.
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