Biohacker spaces

DIYBio…..Do It Yourself Biology?


There has recently been a surge of DIY everything. This is also true in the technology and health arenas. To accommodate their growing numbers, there are an increasing number of DIY creative spaces popping up everywhere. These creatives do everything from growing food, making clothes, reverse engineering technology, biohacking their own health, to DIY Biology experiments. Some have suggested that this is the new industrial revolution that will dominate our lives in a way similar to the adoption of computer technology.

The DIYselfers have organized into a network of enthusiasts across the country who perform research in biotechnology and synthetic biology.  There is a growing number of spaces dedicated to everything from robotics to biology to 3D printing, In 2010, Genspace, “New York City’s Community Biolab”, opened in Brooklyn to provide space and training for the lay person to explore science.  Many more across the country, in fact the world, have since followed.


DIYBio space


Biocurious community, started in September 2011 in Sunnyvale, California, have meetup groups for members to come together…and explore topics like bioprinting and bioluminescence. Thourgh not printing live organs as yet they do experiment with printing live cells. Noisebridge can be found in the mission district in San Francisco.

iGEM , International Genetically Engineered Machine, is a nonprofit foundation that began in 2003 whose mission is to advance synthetic biology and encourage the development of open community and collaboration and has become recognized for its’ student synthetic biology competition. Similarly, BIOMOD is a student competition convening once a year at Harvard University where students present their bio-molecular designs including biomolecular robotics, biomolecular computing, and structural bionanotechnology.

A shift in consciousness is occurring with more people opening their minds to the idea that  individuals possess the power and the responsibility to Shepard their own health and well being. The DIY revolution is allowing the convergence and collaboration of multiple disciplines such as biological sciences, behavioral science, engineering, and the arts in the pursuit of optimal health.

The DIYBio enthusiast see themselves as a doorway to the future of medicine and biology. They believe that nudging human development by pushing boundaries to overcome health obstacles along with the use of open source information and technology will inevitably lead to quicker advancement of these disciplines.

They reverse engineer basic lab equipment to conduct their experiments to sequence DNA both in themselves and the environment.

Biohacking: The Future is Under Our Skin | WUPR Mon, 11 Nov 2013 22:58:31 GMT

As biotechnologies become cheaper and more accessible, “do it yourself (DIY) biologists” and “biohackers” across the world have begun to explore the world of biology from the comforts of their homes. As their name indicates 

To the outside world, these hackers seem like fanatics who implant anything they can find into their skin…But biohackers, especially grinders, see themselves as a stepping stone to the future.

Read more …

So far there has been no government oversight with regulation of the DIY practice. Though this lack of regulation may be due to limited motivation or just the reality that regulation of individual home basement hackers has some obvious obstacles in application.

Not everyone is encouraging these renegades to continue their work. In his new book, “Life at the Speed of Light”, Craig Venter sends out a warning that unintended consequences may result from inappropriate disposal of the chemicals used in home style research and the possible escape of genetically modified organisms into the environment. Though Ventor is an advocate of more built-in safegaurds, he is also concerned with stfiling innovation with overregulation as is currentlly the case with the biotech industry.

Maybe it is time to let the glacially slow advancement of  the risk adverse biotech and medicine industry benefit from the DIYBio, biohacker, quantified self, grinders, transhumanist, open source, maker movements instead of wallowing in fear of what might be discovered.

Life at the Speed of Light: From the Double Helix to the Dawn of Digital Life

Check out customer reviews Author:J. Craig VenterFormat:Kindle eBookBinding:Kindle EditionManufacturer:Viking Adult

The renowned scientist and author of A Life Decoded examines the creation of life in the new field of synthetic genomics In 2010, scientists led by J. Craig Venter became the first to successfully create “synthetic life”—putting humankind at the thr …


Biohackers 101



What is Biohacking and Who are these people?

The term biohacker represents 164,000 google searches today. As a whole, people who subscribe to the biohacker lifestyle and movement agree that it is both possible and desirable to advance the human being to peak health and performance through DiY methods. The pursuit of optimal human functioning may be done through manipulation of the human body through self-experimentation with technology and nutrition and often involves the recording and tracking of biomedical data.

There are  subgroups within the biohacker community including transhumanism and biopunk with their own subgroup called grinders. Specifice ideology seems to dictate the precise label that is accepted. For example, ttranshumanism beliefs include the use of technology and  biopunk advocates open access to genetic information and technology alike while grinders are known for their body modifications via the use of cybernetic devices. The more contemporary biohacking movement is  DIY biology  which emphasizes the use of open source genetic information and tools to make genetic engineering and experimentation accessable to the public. Is this the future of intelligence or does it represent a dangerous number of cooks in the kitchen? Read on and decide for yourself.

What’s The Future Of Biohacking? – The Awl Thu, 12 Dec 2013 22:00:24 GMT

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We stand at a strange moment in human history, when lawyers and corporations wage war amongst each other over one question: who owns your body? Off to the side, biohackers—the freaks, geeks, rebels, and punks who do biotechnology experiments in garages and basements—must decide whether to abide by the outcomes.

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Biohackers, biopunks, grinders, and DIY biologists have the tangled etymological web that many small but passionate groups of ideologues develope.

Biopunk: Solving Biotech’s Biggest Problems in Kitchens and Garages

Check out customer reviews Author:Marcus WohlsenFormat:Kindle eBookBinding:Kindle EditionManufacturer:Current

Bill Gates recently told Wired that if he were a teenager today, he would be hacking biology. “If you want to change the world in some big way,” he says, “that’s where you should start-biological molecules.” The most disruptive force on the planet re …

One subset of biohackers call themselves grinders. They are a group of people turning themselves, slowly but surely, into cyborgs. It was born out of, a forum for people wanting live longer, stronger lives through DIY body modifications. For many, the first taste of grinding is inserting a magnet into the tip of their finger, which allows them to feel electromagnetic waves around them—

Located in Pittsburgh, Grindhouse Wetwares is a group of programmers, engineers, and scientists dedicated enhancing human performance through the use of open source technology and collective intelligence. It has become a natural convergence of DIY biohacker enthusiasts. One such grinder, Tim Cannon, was recently noted to have implanted a device called Circadia that can read biomedical markers/data and have that data transmitted by bluetooth. These technologies have become popular for biohackers who perform  “quantified self” experiments.

An increasingly common and accepted technology for the “quantified self” enthusiasts is the FitBit used to monitor exercise, diet and sleep patterns. Check it out here.


Biohacking/Grinder Update: Tim Cannon Implants Circadia 1.0 Mon, 21 Oct 2013 17:50:05 GMT

Circadia 1.0 aka HELEDD is a generation one DIY implantable device supporting quantified self experiments from Grindhouse WetWares.

Read more …

An area of growing interest in these communities is the use of technology to measure brain waves and use brain waves to control computer software for a specific function such as communication.

Dr. Sean Montgomery is a neuroscientist who describes the use of brain wave biosensing as a portal to monitor emotions and monitor patient health.


Seven Visions of Biohacking, Biosensing, and Biomimicry | MAKE Mon, 16 Sep 2013 12:00:44 GMT

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In addition to using signals from the brain to control EEG-enabled devices, biohacking has extended its’ reach to ” new technology that turns any house plant into a touch controller, using human bodies to transmit sound, creating touch screens on water, 3D-printed interactive eyes, and virtual objects that you can feel with your hands”. See the full article at link above.

Genspace is a DIYbio lab in Brooklyn that is dedicated to bringing biotechnology to the citizens. Ellen Jorgensen gave a TED talk describing the work of these DiY groups. (See video below)

Ellen Jorgensen: Biohacking — you can do it, too | Video on Tue, 15 Jan 2013 16:01:15 GMT

Ellen Jorgensen is at the leading edge of the do-it-yourself biotechnology movement, which brings scientific exploration and understanding to the masses.

We have personal computing, why not personal biotech? That’s the question biologist Ellen Jorgensen and her colleagues asked themselves before opening Genspace, a nonprofit DIYbio lab in Brooklyn devoted to citizen science, where 

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Some biohackers are more interested in the manipulation and use of microbiology. DIYBio, located in San Fancisco, is one such community founded in part by Mac Cowell. Glow in the dark micbrobes pictured below.


Still other biohackers are concerned with optimizing human function by maximizing nutrition. Ben Greenfield and Dave Asprey’s Bulletproof Executive are leading the way in diet based improvement movements. For example, David Asprey advocates the use of fasting along with drinking  his “Bulletproof” coffee with butter and MCT oil mixed in to iincreasse metabolism and induce a state of ketosis to burn more fat.

Bio-Hacking Your Metabolism with Intermittent Fasting | Exerscribe Tue, 24 Dec 2013 03:58:45 GMT

I’ve always been skeptical of diets that promise “quick” results with little effort. Fasting 


If you’re part of the biohacking community or simply want to discover what it’s all about , you won’t want to miss the presentations and exhibits at World Maker Faire. The Maker Faire is the self proclaimed “Greatest show (and tell) on earth”. Check out the upcoming Maker Faire in San Mateo, California May 18-19th 2014.