Would you enjoy reprogramming lab bacteria with DNA from a jellyfish to make them glow green? How about hacking your own genetic data to find out what percentage of the Neanderthal genome you share? Or building a device that splits water into oxygen and hydrogen?
If so, maybe you should consider joining the DIY garage biology movement.
Educational institutions, governments, and big businesses dominate biological research. But plummeting technology costs let entrepreneurs and hobbyists design do-it-yourself tools for biological engineering at a fraction of previous prices.
Aspiring biologists can also get access to lab equipment outside university and government labs. Neighborhood labs are open to everyone and can bring together communities of like-minded citizen scientists. Like community tech shops (where one might share the use of large and expensive technology used in metal machining or wood work), these new science spaces are popping up more frequently.
If you’re curious about biology, you can join a newly formed organization called BioCurious in California’s Bay Area. BioCurious, started as an online community, recently opened a new biotech hackerspace and community lab where those interested can come together to learn and share ideas. Anyone can become a member.
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.
Have an amazing project to share? The Electronics Show and Tell is every Wednesday at 7pm ET! To join, head over to YouTube and check out the show’s live chat – we’ll post the link there.
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