The Biohackers Will See You Now

David Lang | BackChannel | November 7, 2014

The next generation of DIYBio tools are coming, and this time they mean business.

The DIYBio (or Do-It-Yourself Biology or Biohacking) Revolution is upon us. The Maker Movement — the combination of new digital fabrication tools, low-cost sensors, and an open-source ethos — opened the doors for the creation of scientific tools at fractions of the cost of their commercial counterparts. The next generation of these machines are about to hit the market (well, Kickstarter) and their makers are expecting a much bigger wave of interest and involvement.

The idea of a suburban garage turned into an amateur biology lab was once the realm of science fiction. That moment has come and, to some extent, already passed. In its place, we’ve seen a quick rise in the community lab spaces, like BioCurious in Sunnyvale and Genspace in Brooklyn, as well as the continued development of lower-cost tools for this type of makerspace. Just this year, the iGEM (International Genetically Engineered Machines) Jamboree began accepting DIYBio entrants. There’s even a new synthetic biology accelerator opening up down the street from my office in Berkeley called Indie Bio. If you’re looking for them, the signs of the DIYBio Revolution are everywhere...