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.
On Saturday, Franky Zapata took his prototype Flyboard Air hoverboard for a rather impressive flight, three miles on the French coast. It’s based on Zapata’s previous water-powered hoverboard. When the first short flight video went up last month, The Verge interviewed Zapata: So there’s three parts to this, right? The board, a fuel tank, and […]
Media artist Michael Naimark writes: In 1990, right as the first VR wave was swelling, Stewart Brand and Grateful Dead manager Jon Mcintyre concocted a scheme to produce an invitation-only 24-hour VR event modeled after the Electric Cool-Aid Acid test. They convinced Colossal Pictures, the largest soundstage in San Francisco, to host it. Dozens of […]
Almost everyone has their smartphone in a case of one kind or another. Beyond simple protection, finding a case that can charge your phone on its own, but doesn’t feel like it’s also adding a couple pounds to the phone’s weight is the tricky part. Billed as the world’s thinnest battery case, the ThinCharge iPhone […]
You never know when new projects, ideas or opportunities can drop into your lap at a moment’s notice. That may require you to learn a new programming language like Python. Or maybe you need a primer on 3D game development. Or you might realize you could use a serious brush-up on iOS mobile creation.Point is, […]
Isn’t it about time to stretch what your Mac can do? I mean, you’ve got plenty of great programs now…but don’t you think you could use some new tools to get your creative, analytical and organizational juices really flowing? It’s spring, so we cleaned up a whole bunch of super-cool apps lying around and packaged […]