Maker Faire 2011 was, true to expectations, even bigger and better than last year. Expecting as much, Brian Degger and I were prepared. Our DIYbio table was a big improvement on last year, with more interaction and more experimentation on our part than before. As bad luck would have it, our location was very poor compared to last year; our stand was in the Convention Center, a room of wonders that was thoughtfully omitted from the maps and for which there were no signs to follow.
DIYbio and its more professionally oriented cousin, Garage Biotech, are undergoing a revolution at present. Essential equipment that used to cost thousands is now available at affordable prices, in many cases under open licensing schemes and open to community development. Knowledge of biology, genetics and the procedures underlying it all is being disseminated in ever-more-abstracted forms to make it easier to get started. And soon, even the biological components: strains, enzymes and substrates, will likely become mass-marketable.
Long Overdue Update: This post has turned out to be one of the all-time most popular on my site, which surprises me to no end. Who’d have thought my crummy heatsink-and-tin thermal cycler would be cooler than isolating glowing bacteria or printing a 52,000g centrifuge? But, who am I to question human interest. It’s not like my interests are particularly normal anyway. However, I do think this post needs updating, since people keep returning to it and asking questions.