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Thank you for the invitation to discuss our project, Biodesign for the Real World - It started out as an idea for a class in the life sciences at EPFL. Where we wanted
The driving idea is Open Source and Do-It-Yourself approach What this means is that we use openly available software and hardware and build the projects from scratch using simple components, Rather than using fancy equipment or hardcore infrastructure.
Today, we will hear a lot about startup ventures and technology transfer, In our project, the focus is on the process of learning, sharing and building an expanding knowledge base
CoDEV SEED funding and SV support has allowed to bring together a unique collaboration extending across 3 countries with a diverse group of collaborators.
We are Lifepatch in Indonesia, art(science)BLR in India, and EPFL in Switzerland
- Lifepatch is an citizen initiative in art, science and technology, which is committed to working with communities - Art Science BLR at intersection of art-science and pedagogy, creating spaces of dialogue and interaction between artists, designers and scientists. EPFL and (art)ScienceBLR operates on people-power based on semester-based students At EPFL we are a senior scientist + PhD student in Communication Science, working with students in Life Sciences Bachelor level
Access to such a diverse range of people enriches the project.
The project idea grew out of late night discussions at the hackterialab in Romain motier in the Juras.
– a hacking experimental retreat, brainstorming and doing, ideas to prototypes and going to the nearby waterfall in a short intense residency with hackers, makers… you name it, a retreat in this idyllic monastary, and a visit to EPFL and workshops in an art gallery in Zurich.
One of our common interests was to map the state of the water to geographical locations.
Lifepatch – The Jogja River Project, mapping, with award-winning expertise in electronics and microbiology (art)ScienceBLR –’s art and design students are familiar with molecular biology, and have won iGEM categories, have mapped fluoride and other parameters of water in the city of Bangalore EPFL – has the advantage of Robin’s experience in developing the open source geiger counter that enabled citizens to make radioactivity measurements after the Fukushima nuclear disaster.
Because we have been working on the ground in our respective niches, we have each an access to networks on the ground.
We chose to map fecal coliform bacteria contamination in Indonesia, and Arsenic levels in drinking water in India.
Monitoring coliform bacteria allows for mapping the source of the contamination. Coliform bacteria is also a first world problem, as seen recently in tap waters in Juras Bernois, or from contaminated vegetables in the US.
Arsenic, when taken in chronically, results in cancer – Arsenic is found naturally in ground water, or found as a result of mining activity – in Switzerland, there are former gold mines in Ticino and arsenic mine in Valais.
We are currently looking at coliform bacteria contamination with microcolony counting differentiate between E. coli and other coliforms based on their enzymes – (ENDO agar media contains Lactose which serves as a carbohydrate source. Lactose positive colonies exhibit a red color caused by the aldehyde reaction with the Sodium Sulfite and Basic Fuchsin. )
For Arsenic, we are using a genetically modified bioreporter to detect arsenic developed in the van der Meer Lab GMO E. coli that senses arsenic and fuoresces green
We make prototypes of detection devices for field work- The webcam microscope (Lifepatch) has evolved into the micam v2 and now v3
At EPFL, we are making a fluorimeter, turbidity meter to measure the GMO bioreporter output – Bangalore has prototyped mobile labs, how to go sampling out doors.
We are also interested in automating water sampling devices
By focusing on DIY open hardware, and using basic materials and tools that are relatively affordable, We can put them in many hands,
What is important – that people get involved In the citizen science context, we gain in getting results faster, and by participating, we bridge data taking and raising awareness.
We would like to geospatially locate the water quality data – scientific values, but also narratives, images.
We learn and share this knowledge with the communities.
In design, user experience testing is part of the design process. we go out with our early prototypes of our DIY devices and water collection and testing, and discuss what is in the water with community members not trained in biology or engineering.
(EPFL DIY Incubator workshop in Lausanne Lifepatch Coliform bacteria analysis workshop – at Lifepatch + in the communities – people asked to come after watching Lifepatch members collect water in their neighborhood. Bangalore – at NCBS (National Centre for Biological Science), arsenic bioreporter growing and freezedown)
Decentralized and transdisciplinary work is made possible by using available online tools
We also use the web-platform and blog on Biodesign.cc. It gives us instant access to research/tools and methodologies of different partners -Sharing code and schematics on the website and on github
This website is also our public face the blog entry is posted in a timely manner, during the process, providing steady content we get peer/public scrutiny and feedback, visibility of student output
The idea is that others can replicate our results through the documented strategies for simplifying tools, workshops and dissemination of research. Opportunities to transfer research from researcher to the public faster.
While virtual exchange gets information transferred, the strength of the project is that we are a real network with real communities
In-person meet-ups make a large impact on community and relationship building. 2013 in Bangalore 2014.4 in Yogyakarta 2014.6 in Lausanne, we organized a waterhackathon as part of the Technology as a parallel event for Development Conference on “What is Essential?”
We don’t always have to go too far, as we are part of the local community of biohacking and innovation co-working space at hackuarium / univercité in Renens
These hackerspaces are everywhere.
We are not the only ones interested – aircasting, airquality index china, publiclabs, photosynQ, data canvas amongst others for environmental data
Borrow from Open-Source philosophy to bring in open access to data. Involve the Open source community to contribute to research – ownership of data Be involved in this community
For example, our DIY incubator workshop was picked up by hackaday, a site that has 6 million unique visitors per month.
Technologies can only be empowering if you know how to hack them creatively.
I hope this gives a flavor of what the project is about
We would like to thank all of the interest and mentoring we have received over the past 2 years. we would not be where we are now without the support of the SEED money program. The project has benefitted from activities and knowledgebase from the hackteria network, as you see from our cultural funding.
I would like to conclude with a quote Andreas from Lifepatch – Read quote
From Timbil, also from Lifepatch, [It is] not just about water monitoring quality or all the technical details but its also about building a network, interact with people, and working with different people’s ‘visions’
Identification and focus of goals - it is easier to focus on the means (prototype, website, mapping) = tangible solutions, but is elusive to evaluate the community aspects
While these aspects are elusive, they are important.
How people choose and use the technology makes or breaks innovations. As in the motto of Kharkana, a hackerspace in Nepal, let’s Make, Break, Innovate!
2015 innovation forum biodesign for the real world
Prof. D Trono
Prof. W Pralong
Prof. J Hubbell
Prof. M Swartz
Prof. G van der Goot
Prof. P Renaud
M. I. Margot
Prof. M Blokesch
Dr. A Pexieder
Dr. B Grisoni
Dr. S Leuenberger
Dr. N Buffi
M. J Artacho
Prof. R Bernier-Latmani
Dr. V Simeonov
Dr. S Weijs
Dr. P de Alencastro
Dr. A Crespi
Prof. M Geiser
Dr. F Truffer
Dr. J Iwanovski
Dr. Marc Dusseiller
Dr. Denisa Kera
& the network
Prof. I Prijambada
Prof. J van der Meer
Dr. S Beggah
Dr. D Merulla
Prof. M Thattai
“[not] only in life sciences, or art, my focus is communities”
- Andreas Siagian @Lifepatch