I wanted to highlight a sample of the amazing biohacker projects all around the planet. Art projects are among my favorite this year, really pushing new boundaries!
Real Vegan Cheese gives a whole new meaning to the word “experiment”. I love that this breaks the boundaries of normal “synthetic biology”. It’s a group of amateur and professional biologists working together across 2 communitylabs, crowdfunding research money, budgeting funds, and winning at iGEM. Lots of firsts there. All around engineering yeast to make cow’s milk, with the goal of creating cheesy vegan cheese with no animals involved.
Too many synthetic biology projects sound like boring algebra problems: “If we lower the price of X using BIOTECH to X/100, we will revolutionize Y and make $Z billion”. Real Vegan Cheese breaks the mold and pushes science in some breathtaking new directions! (BioCurious and Counter Culture Labs, Bay Area California. Winner, iGEM 2014 – Best Community Lab Project)
Grow your own custom ink colors in a biotech lab. Everyone’s is different. I think it would be awesome to write with ink created by celebrities…like “Barak Obama’s Ink” or “Taylor Swift’s Ink”. Get into a biohacker lab and make your own! (La Paillasse, Paris)
Beautiful photo gallery on Flickr
Ellen Jorgenson and friends from Genspace cram into this tiny plane to go out to the middle-of-somewhere Alaska — to get DNA samples of native plants. Back in the lab in sunny Brooklyn, local high school students learn to analyze the DNA samples to discover and identify what species the plants are. It was all documented on experiment.com, check out their open lab notebook here.
Do you use terms like “open science”, “ivory tower”, and “democratize biotechnology”? Then you’ve got to check out Method Quarterly. It’s a new magazine, founded by a bunch of cool people like Christina Agapakis. This interview with a scientist named Evelyn Fox Keller from issue #1 is fascinating.
We put up boundaries within science — separating people, disciplines, and careers. We also put up boundaries between science and everything else. How do we create and enforce these boundaries? What separates science from art? From pseudoscience? From technology? How do we cross boundaries? How do we break them down?
“Car Pools is a series of simulations that examine the potential ecological effects associated with the public release of genetically altered algae for biofuel production. The project draws on current open-pond algae production methods to imagine a future infrastructure of fuel producing pools for the city of Los Angeles, a metropolis built for cars, home to more than 43,000 swimming pools.”
I love that this group owned the word “simulation”. It’s not an experiment, and that’s part of why it’s awesome. I hope 2015 is the year of simulation. Winner, iGEM 2014 – Best Art & Design Project (Art Center College of Design, Pasadena)
“The vibrator, redesigned by physicists. Sleek, minimal, intuitive. This is your gal. This is your little dude. Arduino hackable. An orgasm graph for every woman. The future of sex research. This is HUM”
Awesome article about HUM in Cosmo
Get it on Indiegogo (ends January 16th, 2015)