DIYBIO.EU meetup and Biofiction film festival

The European community for diybio (  has never been stronger.  It’s growing, and the local groups are taking on bigger projects, from research, to lab equipment startups and biotech incubators. Two members of Biologigaragen went to the Biofiction film festival and the European diybio  meet up in Vienna. 23rd-27th of Oct. This is what happened

Biofiction film festival brings art and science together and uses film as the artistic medium to communicate how biotechnology influences or how it might influence our world in the future.   There were many good short movies from funny reflections  (de-extinction of the Doddo) to philosophical reflections on eternal life. This was the theme of one of the winning movies “Hubris” that also showed that the quality is getting very professional.  The winning movies can be seen on the Biofiction website /Films.

Professional diybio projects
Professional diybio. It’s a glaring contradiction, but during Biofiction and the DIYBIO meetup, several members presented projects that clearly shows that it’s a strong network and that the community should be taken seriously.  here is a sampling of presentations from the conference.

La Paillasse
There were several people from La Paillasse. By support from several crowdfunding campaigns and with support from the Mayor of Paris it’s been possible to establish a new maker/diybio incubator and shared laboratory space in the center of Paris. It’s more than 700m2. They have a drone-lab, a brain-lab, a “fab-lab” a biolab, and they are running several cool projects as the bacterial bio-ink project, collecting used lab equipment and much more.

Bento lab
Bento Lab is a PCR-machine, Centrifudge, DNA-Gel illuminator and a Gel-electrophoresis machine built into one A4 size transportable and very small machine. They have just released a functional prototype that was shown at the Biofiction festival.  The current estimated price is in the range of 300-350 euros. Their plan is to sell or ship it to a selected number of schools, universities and diybio-labs to further develop and perfect the design and user interface. Great things are expected from this fantastic team…

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Open Biolab Graz,   GMO-certified DNA-synthesizing
The Open Biolab Graz Austria (OLGA) is one of the new Labs in the diybio europe community, but they are building their activities rapidly. They were recently the first European community lab to be GMO-certified, just after indiebiotechs functional bedroom-GMO-lab. Members of OLGA also recently started and got venture-capital for a company that aims at developing a cheap DNA-synthesizer.

DIYBIO.EU and flagship projects
It was refreshing to be at the diybio meetup and see that things are moving all over europe. It was also good to share the friendly atmosphere, have a beer and discus how we are doing this, why it matters, and not least the ethics around all our activities.

At the meeting it was also decided to relaunch the website and maillist. It will be a minimal page listing the diybio spaces in europe and a mailinglist for cross europe coordination, discussions and event invitations.  This will be kindly provided by the Waag society in Amsterdam. As soon as this is up we invite and encourage everyone to join the maillist, participate in discussions and ask questions and also look out and get in touch with your local diybio group.

The Biostrike project was kick-started last year in Copenhagen. Biostrike is A diybio/citizen science experimental competition, and educational tool, to find new antibiotics.  The project has gained a lot of attention and gathered momentum with workshops in Academiac context both in relation to science but also sociology, in hackerspaces, in art context and at schools. All this all around the world in Tel Aviv, Indonesia, Berlin, Nepal, Karlsruhe and Singapore.

The project was discussed in relation to Educational, Ethical, Juridcal aspects and the key learnings, insights and next steps will be shared soon.  Currently Biostrike is not one centralized efford but a collaborative effort with many projects running in parrallel.

* The initial project onepager
* Biostrike on the Hackteria wiki
Biostrike on brmlab wiki

The biocommons project was kickstarted at Pixelache festival this summer. It uses Biostrike as an example and starting point for a discussion on IP-rights and licenses to the common domain of biology, organisms and DNA-sequences. How should we deal with patents on genes and are we facing a tragedy of the commons in relation to biological information.  This project is funded by the european Synergene project, that also provided travel support to bring the diybio community together.

Photo Laurel:


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