Monthly Archives: February 2011

How Species Save Our Lives

We are coming to an age when technologies for quickly and quantitatively identifying a new species will be in the reach of many more people. Technologies like OpenPCR, DNA barcoding, mail-order DNA sequencing, and DNA barcoding. But technology is useless without people putting it to use.  ”Why” might someone like you want to identify new species? I came across a few answers this morning in the New York Times. According to the article, we have new species to thank (and the people who stumbled across them) for the following…

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Help Fund the Synthetic Bio Documentary

Sam Gaty and George Costakis have been shooting footage for a Synthetic Biology documentary over the past year or so, interviewing everyone in this emerging field, including leading synthetic biology researchers as well as DIYbio practitioners. They’ve now started a Kickstarter project to get their film edited in time for submission to Sundance 2012. Check it out, and see the great preview at the end of their Kickstarter video.

Happy Birthday OpenPCR!

Hey everybody!
Last year, February 5th, 2010 marked the day that OpenPCR first came to life. Here’s a picture of our very first prototype, when we were first wondering “can it be done?”.

OpenPCR prototype PCR Machine

OpenPCR prototype PCR Machine v 0.000001, sitting atop a spool of solder to help with airflow.

What a successful year. Last February we assembled our first OpenPCR prototype. Right after that, we made a mad rush for Maker Faire in San Mateo, California. By that time we had a beautiful laser cut case (sponsored by Ponoko) and a machine that worked. Hundreds of people support OpenPCR on Kickstarter, doubling our $6,000 goal for the first crowd-funded biotech project in history. OpenPCR featured in Nature Magazine (excellent photo taken by Josh) (link) and the New York Times (link), among others.

Congratulations to all! Josh and I have learned an incredible amount in the past year. Everything from h-bridges, power supply design, and PCB fabrication, to peltiers, thermistors, CNC machining, and USB control. It is great to be working together!

Yesterday we celebrated while out sailing in the San Francisco Bay! Also thanks to Eri for writing us up on the BioCurious blog (link).

Tito and Josh OpenPCR PCR Machine

Josh and I aboard an Olson 25', on a 5 hour sail around Angel Island in the San Francisco Bay. Thanks to Eri Gentry for the picture!