biotechnology

Biotechnology is the use of living systems and organisms to develop or make products, or "any technological application that uses biological systems, living organisms, or derivatives thereof, to make or modify products or processes for specific use" (UN Convention on Biological Diversity, Art. 2).

 

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.

 

The Emerging Infectious Diseases Journal recently published an element of Anna Dumitriu's FEAT residency outcome on its cover.

 

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

 

Digi.Bio has been awarded the Anthony Fokker Prize. Digi.Bio started as a hobby project in the Fablab and Open Wetlab at Waag.

 

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.

 

During the Dutch Design Week 2017 you can visit the Embassy of Health to discover gene.coop. Gene.coop is a cooperative in which your DNA is stored and only made available to third parties under conditions determined by you.

 

The second series FabSchool of this year was completely about the wonderful world of biotechnology. Covered by our Open Wetlab for five years by now, but within the context of FabSchool still uncharted terrain. What did we do in our 12 weeks of biotech activities?

 

In the current series of FabSchool (on Wednesday afternoon at the Waag) we are exploring the world of biotechnology. We went hunting for microbes with the kids!

 

In the first half year of 2017, Waag's biolab will bring 'Het Praktikum', a series of themed nights in Dutch during which we unravel the latest biotech taboos and explore our own morals.

 

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.

 

At the Cutting Edge festival last week in Oslo, Pieter van Boheemen witnessed yet another debate on the future of genetic engineering. Unfortunately these debates often take the hope versus horror approach. Curing all genetic diseases versus pigs with wings. Higher agricultural yields versus designer babies. Dystopia versus utopia.

 

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.

 

Our Open Wetlab and it's founder, Pieter van Boheemen, are part of an exhibition at the Science Museum in London, called 'Beyond the Lab: The DIY Science Revolution', that opens on 7 July 2016. Newspaper The Guardian already wrote an interesting article about the upcoming exhibition: Citizen science: how the net is changing the role of amateur researchers.

 

3-05-2016

Rare earth

For the three-day event 'What’s the matter with cooperation', I was invited by Belgian colleagues of Gluon partner organisation Buda in Kortrijk, to speak about the models of collaboration between the arts, and bio-sciences that Waag uses, such a critical making, probes for debate and our own method 'users as designers'.

 

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.

 

With Cellular Propeller, Howard Boland seeks to investigate one of the possibilities of synthetic biology.

 

Our Open Wetlab is for anyone who is interested in learning about and making new cool bio-concepts and bio-things.

 

During the weekend of 12-13 December, Waag opened its doors to the Digi.Bio team together with a group of biohackers, for a microfluidics hackathon. They are one step away from democratizing diagnostics by making them hackable not only for scientists, but also for amateurs interested in digital biology. The group of pioneers worked non-stop for two days on the digital microfluidics lab project and managed to get some droplets moving!

 

3-11-2015

Got microbes?

Each October, thousands of designers gather in the city of Eindhoven to present their works to the public during Dutch Design Week. This year, Waag wondered: what would it look like if we treated micro-organisms with the same care and attention that we give to our dogs, our cats, our fish—even our plants? To explore this question, we brought to life the microbial pet shop from the Open Wetlab.

 

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.

 

Marit Mihklepp (Estonia) was one of the students that followed the 'Life Live, Live Life' bio art course that we gave at the ArtScience Interfaculty of the Royal Academy of Visual Art and the Royal Conservatory at The Hague. She wrote this contribution about microbial perfumes.

 

Waag's Open Wetlab is present at the SXSW (South by Southwest) 2015 festival in Austin, Texas (USA). Our biotechnology lab presents five projects at the festival, on invitation of the Fund Creative Industries NL.

 

The event 'The Other Dinner' we organized together with Chloé Rutzerveld at the end of 2013 is featured in the book 'Experimental Eating' published by Black Dog Publishing.

 

Waag is one of twelve makers of a book cover design for the ADCN (Art Directors Club Netherlands) Yearbook 2014. Each year ADCN challenges designers and makers from the creative industry to design an iconic cover for their annual yearbook.

 

The Dutch Commission Genetic modification (COGEM) has published a report on the use of genetic modified organisms in exhibitions.

 

The Open Wetlab was asked to organize a course on biotechnology at the Art Science Interfaculty, an interdisciplinary bachelor and master programme that fosters curiosity driven research as approach for the making of art.

 

The New Material exhibition opened in the New Institute in Rotterdam includes two projects that were realized in the Open Wetlab.

 

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!

 

In the Summer of 2014 we were confronted with a newsitem mentioning that Satao, Kenya’s largest elephant, fell into the hands of poachers. Again, a natural monument of our planet was lost. Every year again thousands of elephants are killed for their tusks. Many people adore ivory for its unique qualities. Ignorant of the meaning and source of the material they do not realize that the trade in ivory is very cruel, redundant and will prove to be limited.

 

The European KiiCS Award on arts and science for innovation went to “Lab Easy: DIY Biology for the Bio-Curious” – a new educational concept, and to “Slave for Love” – an oxytocin detecting device.

 

Willem Duijvelshoff visited our event Do It Together Bio about Hacking HIV for Motherboard and reports (in Dutch).

 

Currently, Claudia Marginean from Romania is working on the 'Mystery Meat' experiment, which we hope to turn into a workshop in the Autumn. She is looking at meat samples to identify exactly what kind of meat is in them. Can you trust the ingredients listed on your sandwich packaging... or are you on the verge of uncovering another horsemeat scandal?

 

Exactly a year after the world's first in vitro hamburger was presented, the The In Vitro Meat Cookbook was published by BIS Publishers. Using the format of the cookbook as a storytelling medium, the In Vitro Meat Cookbook is a visually stunning exploration of the new “food cultures” lab-grown meat might create. This book approaches lab-grown meat not just from a design and engineering perspective, but also from a societal and ethical one.

 

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.

 

With the global population possibly growing towards 10 billion people in 2040, finding a solution for the world's food problem is becoming increasingly more urgent. What if you could provide your own proteins, by growing algae at home?

 

I’m currently doing an internship in the Open Wetlab looking at new materials that might be produced by biotechnologies in the future. In the last few months I’ve been looking in particular at ivory and studying the properties of this precious biomaterial. It mostly consists of dentin, the same material our teeth are made from. I was curious about the possibilities of growing ivory artificially and approached ACTA, the Academic Centre for Dentistry in Amsterdam for some answers.

 

For the second time I was a guest at Zapplive, a live broadcasted show on television. This time I worked with the kids on an experiment in neuroscience. With a simple setup you can show how the brain is controlling our muscles. Every move we make starts at our brains: from kicking a ball to making a boxing movement.

 

Thousands of elephants are slaughtered every year for their tusks. Ivory is still very popular, the pain the animal has suffered and the deaths that followed are not reflected in the decorative figurines that adorn homes and shrines. People do not realize what they have in their hands. But what if we could give a new meaning to the formation and origin of ivory?

 

Running DNA tests, creating electricity with biologic materials or using muscle power to make sounds? Within three interactive workshops Waag showed youngsters between 14 and 17 years old what biotech is all about.

 

For the minor ‘digital craft’ at the Willem de Kooning Academy I went to the Open Wetlab to study bacteria and the fascinating patterns that emerge from cultures.

 

Waag collaborates with embedded researcher Louis Buckley in a project of the Creative Industries Research Centre Amsterdam (CIRCA, part of the University of Amsterdam) to evaluate Bio-Art, Ethics and Engagement.

 

In January 2014, we organise a two-day DIY Bio-Logic workshop during which designers, biohackers, artists, developers and architects make 2/3D structures of organic, super fertile material which will be colonized by living organisms.

 

What are the most dangerous dyes in our food? A new infographic by Special Education Degree shows us.

 

During the Dutch Design Week 2013, Next Nature Lab presents speculative lab-grown meat dishes, developed by cooks, designers, engineers and artists at the Technical University Eindhoven. This presentation is a kick-off for a crowdfunding campaign to promote the In Vitro Meat Cookbook.

 

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.

 

Three years ago the project called 'Cell explorer' was amongst the finalists of the first edition of the DA4GA (2010/2011). Unfortunately they didn't win but did succeed in finding partners (the UMCG and RUG) that supported them to realize the project.

 

On Friday, the 2nd of August, we participated at OHM 2013 (Observe Hack Make 2013), with two different workshops. The challenge was not only to successfully present the workshops, but to intrigue participants from all around the world to observe, hack, make with us and interact with each other.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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!

 

The antlers on the wall on either side of the hall come from all over the world. The same thing goes for the audience - young men and women with fast glasses or flashy lipstick are sitting beside men in suit or a casual sweater. There is tension in the air. We are in the ‘Pesthuis’ at Naturalis for the announcement of the winners of the third edition of the Designers & Artists for Genomics Award, which rewards leading bio-art initiatives.

 

Friday November 16th we finally found out if the Open PCR that we recently put together really works during our Do It Together Bio meeting. DIY biologists, artists and others interested came to the Waag building where Fablab Amsterdam is housed.

 

On Friday 25 May 2012 the fourth edition of DIY Bio took place at the Waag. After three successful meetings with lots of talks this finally was a meeting in which something was built at the Fablab.