biohacking

The activity of exploiting genetic material experimentally, free from standard norms and limited expectations. A form of do-it-yourself biology: a social movement in which individuals and organizations pursue biology and life science with tools equivalent to those of professional labs.

 

During the conclusion of our annual BioHack Academy, the participants presented their work and received the BioHack Academy Award.

 

Did you know that you can also follow the BioHack Academy online? All lessons are recorded and shown on the video channel.

 

Have a look at the projects of participants in the BioHack Academy, an international programme organised by Waag.

 

BioHack Academy #6 starts January 2019. Learn the basics of biotechnology, build your own open-source lab equipment and develop your own project. Deadline to subscribe is 1 November 2018

 

BioHack Academy is a unique international 10-week programme, during which participants build and use their own biolabs. We are seeking new partner labs for the next series.

 

The BioHack Academy #5 came to an end with final presentations and an exhibition showing the work of the latest generation biohackers.

 

In February, Tegenlicht visited the BioHack Academy to witness an experiment with genetic manipulation. Sunday March 25, the episode 'Doctoring with DNA' was broadcasted.

 

The Dutch newspaper Trouw published an article on 'DIY DNA' about two Americans who developed their own genetic therapy. Lucas Evers of our Open Wetlab gives his reaction.

 

What is a biohacker, what does a biohacker do and why should anyone become one? With the BioHack Academy #5 around the corner we listed 7 reasons why.

 

In a world where science is most often practiced in isolated labs, gaining access to the primary tools is of great importance to many independent researchers.

 

MAD summerschool, sounds like a crazy summerschool but it actually stands for ‘Man and Design’ i.e. a design summerschool.

 

The Dutch magazine 'LABinsights' published an article in which Xiamyra Daal explains more about our Open Wetlab, the BioHack Academy and DIY bio at the Waag, titled 'Biohacken is not a kind of amateurism'. The article is available in Dutch only.

 

Some weeks ago, the fourth edition of the BioHack Academy started. During this international course, the participants build their own biolab. To be able to do so, they first learn about 3D drawing and everything about the electronics used in the equipment.

 

A new week, a new episode of #OPENBIOTECH! In this one I’m showing you how to get in jail as a biohacker. Yep, that’s right.

 

We opened the Pet Shop Food Bar at the Waterlooplein in Amsterdam in November 2016. We investigated for one month how our micro-pets can contribute to the future of our food.

 

Lucas Evers (Open Wetlab) of Waag has contributed to a new publication of COGEM titled 'Gentechdebat op scherp'.

 

September 7th, the KNAW organised a symposium about gene editing. This is a technically interesting, scientifically exciting, and socially relevant subject. Thanks to the competent speakers, a clear picture was given of the temporary developments, possibilities and scientific challenges, particularly in Dutch universities.

 

We went looking for bacteria in the red light district of Amsterdam, to map microbes in the area. An image report.

 

Over the last four years, the Dutch Do It Yourself Biology (DIY Bio) community has continued to incubate and grow within the walls of Waag's Open Wetlab. Their research relating to biological applications of hardware, software, wetware, and other DIY tools is never dull, and there's always a twist. Why? Because its the participants who decide what to do during the open evenings, who inspire each other by sharing their research results, and who freely allow each other to participate in their projects. Last week, we celebrated the end of the winter/spring season. So now is a good time to look back on what we've done.

 

During the weekly open Fablab day, we hosted a seven hour long, intense and fun Hacksprint about Biotic Games. Games offer ways of human interaction with different kinds of matter, whether it is a board game with friends or a dive into the digital world of computer games.

 

Tuesday the 22nd of March and Thursday the 24th, a two-evening workshop about genetic modification was organised by artist in resident Špela Petrič, head of the Open Wetlab Pieter van Boheemen and the Waag’s safety officer Per Staugaard.

 

On February 23rd, the kickoff of the third BioHack Academy took place at the Waag. During this meeting Pieter van Boheemen took his students on a journey through the history of biohacking. From Rembrandt’s anatomical lesson, via Dolly the sheep to the modern buzz around the CRISPR/Cas9 method, Pieter explained how the field of DIY biotech developed over the years.

 

A main article in the Dutch newspaper Volkskrant (special magazine 'Sir Edmund') features a recent development in bio technology: the reprogramming of dna with the CRISPR/Cas technique.

 

One of the most exciting frontiers is the growing field of biotechnology, and its implications for engineering, design, and art. As we start to create open source bio factories, we also create a new medium for expression. After the success of the first two editions BioHack Academy, the third edition is about to start.

 

As we approach the end of the second BioHack Academy, the excitement to see the outcome of the participants' projects is growing steadily. The incubated microbes are dressing up for their upcoming finale, the Arduino boards have their final soldering touches, and the microscopes will be on fire!

 

The second edition of the BioHack Academy has began: brave biohackers from all over the world are taking part in this exciting project, that will teach them how to build their own cheap and OpenSource biolab in Do-It-Together/Hands-On-Knowledge style, and start growing superfood, fuel, fabrics, natural pigments and much more bio-stuff.

 

Waag is happy to announce that BioStrike, initiated by Pieter van Boheemen of the Open Wetlab, belongs to the selection of 36 honoured projects of the programme of 'The Art of Impact'. BioStrike is an ongoing project in a collective of Do It Yourself Biotechnologists and citizens aiming to develop new antimicrobials.

 

Last weekend, I had the opportunity (along with two participants from the Biohack Academy, Tamara and Giacomo) to represent the Open Wetlab at the Sónar festival in Barcelona. The Sónar festival is not just about music, but also about creativity, innovation, technology, and business (like, for exemple, Sónar+D). Over the course of three days, we shared a space with other institutions under STARTS umbrella from the European Commission.

 

The artistic interest in life sciences is on the rise. However, the debate around genetic engineering for art remains undecided in The Netherlands. So I flew to Helsinki to join a group of biohackers in teaching genetic engineering to artists, “Rock & Roll” style.

 

During the last week, I had the opportunity to be part of the Biohack Academy in Barcelona. The people in Barcelona form a heterogeneous group: bioinformaticians, biologists, pharmacists, and other scientists who are meeting twice a week, in order to build the lab equipment.

 

A smooth flight from Amsterdam (during which clear skies enabled me to gaze at the frozen Canadian tundra for hours) took Chloé Rutzerveld and I to sunny Austin. We came to Austin to present our Open Wetlab and its activities at the SXSW Trade Show. An Open Wetlab at the Trade Show seemed like a strange combination (as we have no conventional trade), but this provided all the more conversation with the passing audience.

 

In February, the first BioHack Academy started at the Waag and on location at partner labs. After completing this first BioHack Academy you can grow your own fuel, food, filaments, farmaceuticals, fragrances, fungi and much more funky bio stuff at home.

 

On Tuesday February 17th, the BioHack Academy started on three continents. In São Paulo, Barcelona, New Mexico and Amsterdam participants gathered and connected by videostreaming to the first lecture by Pieter van Boheemen.

 

A new year has started, a fitting moment for predictions. Which themes will change the image of 2015?

 

In every corner of the recently opened Hackuarium in Lausanne plenty of unopened crates can be found. Autoclaves, acid chambers, bio reactors and lot of glass items are piled up to the ceilings - waiting, no, begging for a biohacker to give them a second life.

 

Making paper and ink with the aid of bacteria? Sure! The participants of the 12th Do It Together Bio workshop at the Waag were not scared away by the strange smells of the bacteria. On the contrary. In no-time most of them were stirring away in jars filled with cellulose and pigment producing bacteria. It was such a lot that the smell of it lingered for a couple of days!

 

Our Open Wetlab regularly has guests working at their projects in our lab. Recently, Matilde Losi from TU/e worked at her 'Host' project here.

 

While most of us think of ourselves as rational and reasonable beings, the truth can be quite the opposite. Especially when it comes to the field of medical biotechnology the discrepancy between what actually science is able to comprehend or cure and the vast amount of diseases our bodies may endure leaves a lot of room for myths and legends. Myths and legends that seemingly still prevail in the Quantified Self (QS) movement.

 

Our fellow Maurizio Montalti has put the result online of three weeks of time-lapse recordings of a slime mold. It is remarkable to see the behaviour of this peculiar organism. The video is a result of the BioLogic workshop held at the Waag in January of this year.

 

How do biological entities and digital algorithms relate to each other? How could the study of such interaction be visualised? And what would be the applications and the implications which could derive from such study? Which disciplines could be affected?

 

The annual conference of the Chaos Computer Club might not be the first place that comes to mind when thinking of biotechnology. Although in the midst of computer, food, car and even tamagotchi hacking biotechnology is not such an odd one out.

 

In Hamburg, I learned about hacks for every piece of digital technology that I use. While sitting in the train back home, I tried to sort out the massive amount of overwhelming information, revelations and insights that were presented to me at the 30th Chaos Communication Congress (#30C3).

 

The German magazine 'Business Punk' has published an article about our Open Wetlab.

 

In June this year many BIY biologists from all parts of Europa came to Amsterdam for the opening of our Open Wetlab. Some members of the Hacker Space Groningen immediately saw the possibilities of the public lab. Back at their own FabLab, they started working on their own equipment. At the Mini Maker Faire they proudly showed off their results.

 

Last Summer, our Open Wetlab organized a workshop DNA fingerprinting at the Observe Hack Make festival to bring hackers in contact with the Open Wetlab and Do-It-Yourself biotech. A video.

 

Genetically modified embryos of Zebrafish injected with GMO algae are playing an important role in the artwork Errorarium by Adam Zaretsky.

 

In biotechnology we have 'hello world' experiments too, that simply demonstrate that something works as it should. In genetics one can visualize and characterize DNS, this is sometimes called in CSI-like terms 'DNA fingerprinting'.

 

Waag has opened the first Open Wetlab in the Netherlands at the Waag in Amsterdam.

 

Bio artist Adam Zaretsky constantly finds himself on the edge of the legally permissible. His Errorarium, for example, is home to zebra fish embryos injected with algae. The aim is that these embryos grow up to be completely self-sustaining fish and that they can make food from sunlight just as plants do.

 

On Wednesday, April 27th it was time for the 5th edition of Do it Together Bio. The event was led by Laura Cinti and Howard Boland who are co-founders of the C-Lab collective and also winners of the latest Designers & Artists 4 Genomics Award. It was a diverse event that included theory, practice, experimentation and discussion around bio-art, synthetic biology, magnetic bacteria and genetic modification regulation and lab safety.

 

Webcams are nowadays almost always integrated in computers, so what to do with all those left-over webcams? Hack them!

 

At Do it Together Bio #4 on 3 April 2013 we worked with Aliibrio ficheri, bacteria that are bioluminescence, made 3D prints with living material and we built a bioprinter from old HP printers after the model by BioCurious at Instructables. During the workshop artist Allison Kudla told about her work and Branislav Misovic and Jelle Boomstra shared their experiences with 3D printing of living tissue.

 

31-01-2013

DIY Bioprinting

At Instructables.com, an instructable by BioCurious appeared that attracted a lot of attention: a DIY BioPrinter. Bioprinting is printing with biological cell materials. Think of it as 3D printing, but with squishier ingredients: human tissue!

 

We’re making a fresh start with our Open Wetlab on November 16th. We'll be working with do-it-yourself biologists on bottom-up innovation: new machines, techniques and protocols – often cheaper than regular lab equipment, like a low-cost malaria tester. Anyone with an interest in biology and life sciences can get started in our lab.