Explore the world of biotechnology hands-on, by making your own fluorescent life form on your own terms! IndieBB is your gateway to the world of engineering life!
Biotechnology is the oldest, and most advanced, technology we have. Biotechnology is where we get our foods, our medicines, and the clothes we wear. Today, it's stepping out of the lab to become an integral part of our daily lives; someday soon, perhaps you'll have a bioluminescent night-light, or a fridge full of cancer-fighting blue tomato juice?
With this skill, you'll join thousands of pioneers around the world who are pushing the boundaries of what we can do using science at home. You'll learn the skills you need to make something amazing, maybe to change the world for the better. Even if you discover it's not your cup of tea, you'll have learned a valuable skill, and you'll know more about the exciting and controversial technology called "Synthetic Biology".
To make this happen, I need your help; this is an all-or-nothing campaign. With your help, I'll design, test and perfect a piece of synthetic DNA which will launch you on your way to becoming a genetic engineer!
To view the main video without Flash or proprietary codecs, see hereI'll happily accept bitcoin, see below for T&C!
What is IndieBB?
IndieBB stands for "Indie Biotech Backbone", because I want this to become the 'backbone' of your first and future projects, whether for school, for science or when you make the next big thing in biotechnology!
IndieBB is a kit containing a specially-designed sample of DNA and some safe, easy-to-grow bacteria. It contains a petri dish, some nutrients for the bacteria, and comprehensive full-colour instructions for use. Using the kit, you'll learn how to grow and handle the bacteria, and how to engineer them using the included DNA so that they turn bright fluorescent green:
This kit is designed for beginners! Unlike all other available kits, it does not require any ingredients you can't buy in a good pharmacy or supermarket. It uses some very clever DNA design 'under the hood' to make sure that you don't need odd materials such as antibiotics, dangerous solvents or impossible-to-find bacterial pheromones. It includes instructions that stick to the easiest methods I can find, so you don't need special equipment or any prior knowledge.
At the same time, IndieBB is designed to allow you to continue learning and developing your knowledge in a free-form way. It's designed so you can use it to make your own projects, by learning to edit the DNA to include genes that make biofuel, or produce rare and valuable materials, or help treat medical conditions, or simply make your bacteria smell like bananas! Because IndieBB will be strictly patent free and Open Source, you'll have every right to use your IndieBB for your own purposes. What will your IndieBB Be?
(Get more technical information here if you like)
Project BudgetThe full amount requested is the minimum I think offers this project a fair chance of success.
- 14 weeks' fixed expenses at €3000
- 3 fully synthesised DNA prototypes at €6000 to ensure the quality I want in your kits.
- Consumables, reagents, equipment and unforseeables: €2000
- Supplies to fulfill your kits and contributions: €5000
Excess funds will go towards making this even better; if it all works out on the second prototype and I have cash left over, that could mean better packaging, design, an extra petri dish, or something else cool for my early adopters!
How else can I help?If you can't financially support, or you're not personally interested but want this to succeed, you can still help in a number of ways:
- Posting even a small comment of encouragement on this IndieGoGo project helps raise the project's "GoGo Factor" and move it up the list
- Sharing this project on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, on IRC, Twister, Retroshare or even more esoteric platforms genuinely helps, and I'm very grateful to all who do so!
- Telling your friends, family and fellow hobbyists or hackers. Let people know this is a great way to get started in the next wave of technology, and to help push biotechnology towards a more inclusive and open future.
- If you have plenty of time and a bit of knowledge, you can help contribute to the wiki of global biotech regulations, which will help this and future projects plan issues like shipping and inform customers and collaborators of legal concerns.
Who are you?
I'm an independent biologist working in a lab I built in a converted room. My work has been featured in the New York Times, Le Monde, MIT Technology Review, and other publications. I've given well-received talks on Open Biotech at events both local and large, such as TEDx Dublin.
I'm responsible for Dremelfuge, an open-source hardware design for a laboratory centrifuge that you can print on a 3D printer and power with a dremel. I've written advanced gene design software which is likewise Free and Open Source, PySplicer.
Appendix A: Can You Ship Where I Live?It's safe to assume "yes", but you must check for yourself whether you're allowed receive or use IndieBB. With the noteworthy exception of Australia I don't know of any country regulating import of the bacteria and DNA comprising IndieBB.
Whether you can use the kit is, sadly, another question entirely, and in much of the EU you'll have to find a community or academic lab who'll permit you to create a genetically engineered bacteria on their license, or get your own lab licensed as I and others have done.
Appendix B: Pledging with BitcoinI'm happy to accept bitcoin, and by request I'll even accept Litecoin for pledges. The address for bitcoin users is: 17bzYGE5xq5dPENKsSHN9rptPodBxazMST
As far as exchange rates, I'll honour the average exchange rate according to bitcoincharts at time of pledge. I'm maintaining a regularly updated cache of prices for the duration of the campaign and will default to the nearest timestamp when calculating the value of pledges.
If pledging by bitcoin, it's best if you email or private-comment first signalling your intention to pledge, and the amount you intend to pledge. Then, make the bitcoin transaction. Doing it the other way around might allow an opportunist to see a transaction on the blockchain and email me claiming it before you do. Bitcoin, eh?
I would rather that you pledge in the usual way, as it means less work.