Open source tools & assays for citizen science

We are Doing-It-Together! Citizens, makers, open source communities, academics and industrial R&Ds. Remixing technologies and skills to investigate and design solutions from individual to industrial and environmental scale. You are invited to join our bi-weekly Thursday meet-ups and get involved!

Assay: [wikipedia] An assay is an investigative (analytic) procedure in laboratory medicine, pharmacology, environmental biology, and molecular biology for qualitatively assessing or quantitatively measuring the presence or amount or the functional activity of a target entity (the analyte) which can be a drug or biochemical substance or a cell in an organism or organic sample.

What should we measure and monitor: Got something that you’d like to measure ?  share ideas, suggestions and reflections using #Baessy on our maillist, facebook or twitter. You can also add ideas to our working document.

 First Project and Aim:  Measuring Bioethanol during Fermentation

We want to make a gas phase fermentation assays using open source sensors and hardware.  A platform that can monitor and log Bioethanol, CO2 and O2 production during microbial fermentation of Biomass.

We want the first prototype to be a a cheap, simple lid that fit onto standard bottles and glasses. It should function as a simple and shareable reference setup, that can be easily duplicated or distributed as a starter kit.

OpenSense. Analyze and transfer data to #Thingspeak: Download -> OpenSense 1024 x 768



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and you can follow ethanol production on ThingSpeak (22.5. – 21 pm –  New Fermentation)

Participate & Collaborate

  • We meet up every second thursday (even weeks) in Labitat between 13:00-15:00 to work on and coordinate this project. 
  • We are documenting and coordinating in the overview google-document.
    Here you can see the current status and tasks available for you to work on.
  • Discussions are currently on biologigaragens maillist.
  • Get News from our blog or from our newsletter (sign up in the top right corner)


The final goal is a robust and low cost high throughput sensing unit that is compatible with 24 well plates used in industrial & academic laboratories across the world. This small scale tool intends to assist both homebrewers and industrial biotech.


* Gernot J Abel, Novozymes, @gernotJAbel
* Martin Malthe Borch Biologigaragen & ITU @mmborch


Focus Areas:

  • Open Source Assay development
  • Biodesign for the everyday life
  • Open source laboratory tools & equipment

Other Projects:

Here is a few other hardware projects that we work on. Please contact us via the mailing list if you are interested in joining one of these projects or simply if you want to show up for one of our Thursday evening Lab meet ups.

Algae bioreactors for Microalgae cultivation

Investigating and developing desktop algae bioreactors for multiple applications ranging from   ecological modelling, waste water treatment to creation of aesthetic art pieces. Algae biomass can potentially be used as a nutritional supplement, for fine chemical extraction and soil enhancement.

Bioreactor design for vinegar, kombucha and sprouts

We are building and testing  simple bioreactors that are designed for DIY vinegar and kombucha fermentations and as sprouting chambers.

Background and Information

This project has been developed through a dialogue between Biologigaragen, Novozyme’s Innovation Department,  Ph.D. student Allan Alfred Birkegaard, he’s researching collaborative innovation and new learning cultures in a partnership between Roskilde University and  Novozymes, and Jakob Wested who is researching intellectual property rights and Open Innovation in Synthetic Biology at Copenhagen University. We hope to gain insight into the differences, challenges and opportunities that a ‘makerspace’ approach to research and development has when compared to more conventional practices. We aim to explore the feasibility of bio-assay technology development in a DIY environment, where proof-of-principle is co-created in the open.

We are investigating assay technologies because of their high relevance for General R&D in both academia and industry. Assays are the Swiss knife of research to identify and understand processes and products. To succeed such an assay involves multiple disciplines: sensors, electronics, robotics, programming, chemistry, biology & design of equipment, documentation and data analysis. Due to the extent of disciplines involved, we are excited to explore this further in a DIY, open source environment that draws together participants from academia, industry and biohacking.

We vision to create proof of concepts that demonstrate the potential in interdisciplinary hacker, industry, science and public collaborations to Educate, Inspire, Innovate & Accelerate academic and industrial applied research and development and hereby enhance biotechnology

Current focus areas and aims

  • Open Source Assay development
    Together with researchers from Novozymes, we are developing and validating open source assays to monitor enzymes in applied experiments. We aim to develop flexible, small scale tools to assist R&D on a prototype scale where off the shelf hardware e.g. Arduino boards, sensors and open source knowledge are used. Over time we hope to develop a robust high throughput system that is compatible with the 24 wells plates which are already utilized extensively both in industry, university research and development laboratories all over the world.

  • Biodesign for the everyday life
    Simple, elegant, user-friendly design is an essential component of any effective, accessible and sustainable product. Much of the currently available biotech equipment are overly designed, multifunctional, try-to-do-everything-but-do-nothing-well chimeras. Based on the average citizen’s day to day challenges, we will design systems and equipment that break from the current paradigm, employing elegant design strategies to create  final products that live up to the sustainability and healthy living requirements of contemporary society.
  • Open source laboratory tools & equipment
    Engaging with the global and European DIYbio movements we are collaborating to develop and improve standard open source laboratory tools such as: centrifuges, stirrers, etc.

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