At a recent O'Reilly/Nature/Google Science Foo Camp, a group of smart folks interested in DIY biology discussed how DNA tests for infectious diseases and the potential of molecular biology in general was unlikely to make it to developing nations anytime soon. The essential tool, a PCR machine that makes copies of DNA fragments, is just too damn expensive. So rather than shrug and move on, they decided to put their ingenuity where their mouths are and make a small, inexpensive PCR machine. The LavaAmp, a portable device for cheap PCR in the field and DIY biotech, is now in prototype. From an email written by Venezuelan biologist Guido Núñez-Mujica, co-developer of the LavaAmp:
LavaAmp is the result of the collaboration of Rob Carlson and his
engineering partner, Rik Wehbring, founders of Biodesic, a Bioengineering firm, Jim Hardy,
bioentrepreneur founder of Gahaga Biosciences, Joseph Jackson, a
philosopher interested in Open Science and DIY Biology and me, a comp.
biologist. SciFoo put us in touch, and in my particular case, exposed
me to a culture of entrepreneurship that I was not familiar with. It
was the catalyst that made us embark in this venture: Try to develop,
manufacture and market a simple, inexpensive device to perform PCR,
the backbone of molecular biology, based on existing technology that
was never developed until we took it over.
Right now, we have developed a prototype and are about to start the manufacturing, if we can get enough funds. In order to gather funds we are competing in a program for social entrepreneurs, The Unreasonable Institute, where we need pledges from supporters in order to gain access
to training, mentoring and funding.
The PocketLab is billed as a “Swiss Army Knife of science.” Launched via Kickstarter, the small device contains numerous sensors to measure acceleration, force, angular velocity, magnetic field, pressure, altitude, and temperature and send that data to smartphones or laptops. According to inventor Clifton Roozeboom, it’s a tool for students and citizen scientists who can’t […]
Ambient displays translate online information into a simple presentation that’s meant to be glanceable, easy to understand, and non-intrusive. I’ve always appreciate artistic ambient displays, like Nancy Patterson’s Stock Market Skirt and Eric Paulos’s Limelight. Ken Kawamoto’s Tempescope appears to be another wonderful example. It’s a weather display in the form of a transparent box […]
Twenty years ago, Texas Instruments released the TI-83 graphing calculator, a stupidly expensive piece of old technology that most high schools still require their juniors and seniors buy for around $100. Why? Because. That’s why. From Mic.com: Pearson textbooks feature illustrations of TI-series calculators alongside chapters so students can use their TI calculator in conjunction […]
Skip the technical jargon and get right to taking amazing, professional-quality photos with this complete training. The Hollywood Art Institute Photography Course includes 22 modules filled with tutorials on how to profit off of your photography, or simply capture your memories in the manner they deserve.Accredited by the Photography Education Accreditation CouncilDive into this 22 […]
Power up your gadgets in the most unexpected places with the extremely compact SolarJuice battery pack. SolarJuice charges up at home like your average battery pack, but also lets you add extra juice on-the-go using its built-in solar panel—so you’ll never be left unplugged from the digital world.4.5 Stars on Amazon!Simultaneously charges 2 devices at […]
Hold your camera to higher standards with the brand-new iBlazr 2, the most advanced LED flash to date. Simply attach to your smartphone, tablet, or DSLR camera. Conveniently sized and wireless, this premium flash will let you easily take amazing photos in low light situations. It’s a literal snap to use: simply attach to your […]