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DIYBio SG in Copenhagen Open Haven : Volunteering for Kopenlab

In Uncategorized on July 20, 2014 at 5:05 am

Kopenlab is a collaborative space for citizen science, diybio, contemporary art and maker culture. This year, Kopenlab has participated in the Science in the CIty Festival, a side event together with ESOF conference 2014 which is a biannual pan-European conference  dedicated to showcasing the latest developments in scientific research and innovation. This time, the excitement took place at the heart of Copenhagen.

Through this festival, Kopenlab aims to show how open cultures in design, making and citizen science are contributory to knowledge advancements and outreach. In the near future, they hope to create a citizen science center where individuals from all walks of life can collaborate with no knowledge discrimination, In the process, a novel methodology of research, hardware development and entrepreneurship could flourish, eliminating the requirement for “access cards” to research laboratories and workplaces where an individual has to strive to earn certificates for entry into. This festival is the starting point in this long road and revolves around the activities and people of Biologigaragen.

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The Old Storage Building at Thorvald Bindesbølls Plads in Carlsberg is where our Kopenlab space would be. The building was literally just an empty space:

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But the talented volunteers managed to transform the space into THIS, an aura of a modern art museum, with chic resting areas and beautiful installations, coupled with cosy areas for workshops and talks to be conducted.

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A blog post can never do justice to a 6-day activity-packed festival hosted by Kopenlab. You can go here to find out about the details of the festival. But just to entice you a bit, here are some of the photos taken at the festival. Do keep a lookout for the Kopenlab! Their activities would be something you might want to turn on your reticular activating system for.

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A Bioreactor vest with Malthe Borch(Biologigaragen) and Brian Degger(Hackteria)


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This is the “Shake it with” series which include  DIY design and constructions by people from Hackteria! A worksop called “Shake it Baby” was also conducted.




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Racquel and her artwork “Thread of Fate



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Above shows 2 DIY hardware at the exhibition. The left is a 3D printer, the first in the world.  And on the right is a wild open PCR made by Hackteria



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Kate and I helped out at a DNA Barcoding Workshop conducted by Adeline Seah, a Science communicator at Biodiversity Connections and a Consultant at SCELSE, NTU. This aimed to use molecular methods to find out what are the species that are included in Herbal supplements where ingredients are usually not specified.



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Above is the stage for “Joined at the Chips” performed by LoVid duo that comprises of Tali Hinkis and Kyle Lapidus




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The left is Pey (Lifepatch) busy facilitating her workshop “Home-made Kimchi” and Cristina Muñoz (Biologigaragen) for her workshop “Urine-reacter Co-Design“.




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And after a busy day, we would usually gather together for a chill social night. Our topic of interest this time as we down our beers is “what are the various uses you can think of with gel boxes?” We had plentiful insights from having light displays in TBE buffer using LED lights kindly provided by Marc Dusjagr, to controlling our pseudo-Frankensteinisch Daphnias caught by Urs Gaudenz and Brian Degger to perform parade-like formations. DIYers FTW..



Thank you Kopenlab for this experience and the coordinators for making this happen 🙂

  • Christoffer Bengt: hardware and tools coordinator
  • Cristina Muñoz: Graphic Design coordinator
  • Emil L Polny: main coordinator, Science Drop coordinator,  emilpolny at
  • Jens Ulrik Jørgensen, Exhibition design coordinator
  • Louise Dyhre Helles: volunteer coordinator
  • Majken Overgaard: exhibition coordinator
  • Martin M Borch: main coordinator, workshop coordinator,  mmborch at
  • Stina Hasse: exhibition coordinator
  • Søren Borch: economy coordinator, soren.borch at
  • Adeline seah: DNA Barcoding & Biolab Coordinator






DIYBio SG goes to Switzerland : Water Hackathon in EPFL

In Uncategorized on July 16, 2014 at 3:34 pm


The Water Hackathon is a parallel event of the Tech4Dev International Conference, EPFL, Lausanne, Switzerland from 4 to 7 June 2014. The main aims of the DIY movement tied in with this conference are succinctly illustrated by Jenny Molloy in this article. The Water Hackathon took place on 6 to 7 June and it is co-produced by Bio-Design for the Real World and, together with Gabrielle Levine and Nur Akbar Arofatullah. The organizers who made this hackathon a possibility includes the following with no significance in the order

  • Gabrielle who is an artist from Tisch School of the Arts New York University and Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design.
  • Akbar, a member of Lifepatch, and a researcher from Gadjah Mada University in Yogyakarta, Indonesia.
  • Sachiko Hirosue , who is a senior scientist at EPFL and also one of the spearheaders in the Bio-Design for the Real World.
  • Marc Dusseiller , one of the co-starters of Hackteria, owner of the dusjagr labs, and also a part of the Swiss Mechatronic Art Society
  • Urs Gaudenz, the owner of the Gaudilabs that deals with open-culture technology, and also a part of Hackteria.
  • Denisa Kera, an assistant professor at NUS and a fellow of the Asia Research Institute (STS cluster) and Tembusu college

The other participants were also contributory to the success of this event as friendships were forged and minds were opened.

A hackathon is an intensive marathon  pursuit of brain-storming, programming and making that bring together like-minded people, accompanied by the sharing of knowledge, skills and innovation. It usually revolves around a particular topic of interest.  This Hackathon, similarly in the spirit of  open collaboration,  is all about open source technologies for rivers, oceans and lakes, exploring the possibilities of open hardware for open Science projects. Human activities have put a toil on our Earth’s water bodies and this Hackathon hopes to create opportunities for hands-on exploration of open hardware as well as ideas to create solutions to these pertinent environmental and social issues. Some of the practical topics explored are the following:



all floated well…some danced on the same spot… more improvements made later! I kinda like it doing a cute cha cha in water.


some ended up as the children’s toys.. Life’s good 😀


and some were pretty nimble boats! But a pity it wasn’t captured on tape!



Water snake on left and water noodle on right…



Akbar’s efficient solution to boat-making and our  mini sample collector at the bottom of the boat. A collaborative effort!



the Augmented Water which changes from blue to red when over-usage of water volumes happen. An instructable to make this can be found here!



Marc Dusseiller Dusjagr (dusjagr lab, hackteria), his team mate and their mozzbuster



Made by Urz Gaudens (GaudiLab, hackteria)


Different versions of MiCam made by Akbar (Lifepatch)


We look forward to more hackathons to come ! More pictures of the event can be found at the Hackteria website which also leads to a collation of various media coverages!


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-Samantha Kwah


DIY Yogurt Making

In Uncategorized on July 16, 2014 at 3:24 am

Do you feel yogurt in Singapore is really expensive? Or maybe you are lactose-intolerant and finding alternatives to imbibing milk? Well you can get round the problem by having a microbial farm (yogurt) in your fridge, regularly harvesting, ingesting and inoculating into new milk media. This session was led by Chinmay Pendharkar who gave us astounding insights and know-how of these yogurty things.

Yogurt-making is based on a process called fermentation by bacteria. The 2 well-known bacteria (but not limited to these) to work this magic are Lactobacillus delbrueckii subs. bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus. Once these bacteria are allowed to grow in a milk media, both will produce lactic acid which coagulates milk proteins to give yogurt its texture and tang.

Firstly, we heat milk to 80°C to kill any undesirable bacteria and to denature milk proteins thus avoiding the formation of a “milk skin”. Alternatively, if you can easily buy UHT or pasteurized milk, you can skip this heating step.

Next, a tablespoon of bacterial culture(yogurt) is added to the milk. You can buy the plain “Greek style”/”Natural” yogurt for this starter culture.

The mixture is then maintained at 45°C for 4 to 7 hours to allow fermentation. There are specialized yogurt kitchenware for this. But if you don’t have it, you can improvise by using microwaves where you slightly warm the milk(without yogurt) in the microwave for a few seconds, then add the culture and leave the mixture in the warm microwave environment for 7 hours. Alternatively, since Singapore is so tropical, you can simply leave the mixture outside for longer hours.

Once the yogurt is set, refrigerate immediately..

Some of the tweaks to make more interesting yogurt:

  1. Full Cream milk makes creamier yogurt
  2. Add extra cream to make creamier yogurt
  3. Different milk brands give slightly different yogurt taste/texture
  4. Add fruits to yogurt to offset the sourness
  5. use a warm water bath for yogurt while setting. Another alternative to microwave.
  6. set yogurt in clay pot as earthenware has pores for water drainage to aid yogurt thickening.

Some of our products 🙂


The left is done with full cream UHT milk. And the right is with strawberry-flavored HL milk. The milk can be purchased easily from any supermarkets. Both yogurt cultures are purchased from Mustafa center (a treasure cove for food-hackers !).  According to Alex and Kamilla, the strawberry-flavoured ones turned out really good :D.

Let us know how yours turned out !



Hackerspace SG



Kate Liow

Alexander Yang

Eugene Ng

Cindy Lin

Zeng Si Min

Diong Huey Ting

Wee Kiang



Samantha Kwah

A Cat named Husky


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DIY Webcam Microscope – SG style

In DIYbio, DIYbio hardware, Uncategorized on June 22, 2014 at 8:03 am

The DIY Webcam Microscope movement becomes global – from Switzerland, Indonesia,  Taiwan and finally, to Singapore! DIYbio SG attempted to create their very own DIYbio SG Webcam Microscope on Wednesday evening, 11 June 2014. Building a low-cost webcam microscope allows us to embody citizen scientists’ spirits along with the many other ways one can possibly embrace this DIY, DIWO, DIT movement.



Logitech Webcam (unsure of model)

3 bolts

6 nuts

1 empty transparent box and lid

Cardboard box



Electric Drill

Varied sized Open Eye Screw


Pliers (either slip-joint of fixedjoint however, a long-nose plier is suitable)

Laptop (for checking usability of bought webcam)



Building of DIY Webcam Microscope – SG style:


All is good with Logitech Webcam!


The first step was to reverse the lens embedded in the webcam. Unscrew the camera and carefully pry out the embedded lens with a pair of pliers, we recommend a pair of needle-nose pliers. If not, use a needle like we did.

Note: Be careful not to destroy the image sensor.




The second step required us to build a structure which supports the reversed-lens and its supporting circuitry.


Eugene, “This IKEA drill is actually is worth its price.”

Next, we used open-eye screws to drill holes into our empty plastic box. As we did not have wing nuts, we had to rethink of alternatives which replicate the mechanics of a wing nut in order for us to create an adjustable microscope stage.


The team thought of using 3 sets of 2 nuts and a bolt to move the stage up and down the shank of our bolts. The bolts were held in place by 2 nuts. It might not result in the smoothest movement of the stage but it was what we could do without the convenience of the wing nut.


On our first attempt, we realise our webcam was not working the way we would imagine a webcam microscope to work. The image was not magnified when the sample was brought close to the webcam. An image of the colony of mould in Eugene’s Lipton tea could not be captured with our DIY webcam microscope.


Alexander found out that we have not reversed the webcam lens. It may be good to make a note (paste a sticker, do a marking or spit or not) so that you will not lose track of which side you will need in a reversed-lens webcam microscope.

And it finally worked!


Close-up image of a Yellow LED


The next trail of DIY Webcam Microscope will include a Sony PS3 eye which Lifepatch has recommended to us when making a Webcam Microscope as it has a faster frame rate – “120 frames per second”.  A customized SG Webcam Microscope PCB with appropriate number of LED lights will also be ideal for future hacking/making/playing among DIYbio SG members. Till then!


DIY Webcam Microscopy – DIYbio SG:

Host venue:
Wiscloud Technology Pte. Ltd. At Oxybiz Hub 2

Cindy Lin


Alexander Yang

Eugene Ng

Wee Kiang Yeo

Pauline Ng

Andreas Schlegel

Samanatha Kjm

Huey Ting

Kate Lu

Adeline Seah

Cindy Lin


There will be a few more sessions to make more microscopes (successful or not really doesn’t matter) and we hope that anyone who is interested or can make it the next time join us in more hacking, making, sharing and playing DIY, DIWO, DIT style!


In DIYbio, DIYbio hardware on May 20, 2014 at 11:44 pm

Building of the openPCR kit

4 components:
The Lid (Metal lid, plastic knob)
The Core (Heat sink, fan, peltier heater, 16-well PCR block)
The Face (Mounting block with LCD screen)
The Body (Casing, Arduino Uno, OpenPCR board)

Manual for building of openPCR:

After building the lid and the core, the face was mounted, body added to it and everything was wired up. (Total time spent: ~5hrs)


Final step of building it, connecting all the wires from the lid, the core and the face.

The openPCR could not be powered up via USB port.

LCD screen powered up through power plug


The 16-well PCR tube holder is heated up using the openPCR app downloaded onto the laptop. 🙂

The next step will be testing the openPCR using PCR mastermix.


OpenPCR kit:
Pauline Ng

Host venue:
Independent Archive and Resource centre

Alexander Yang
Samantha Kjm

Alexander Yang
Eugene Ng
Pauline Ng
Andreas Schlegel
Samanatha Kjm
Huey Ting
Cindy Lin
Wee Kiang Yeo

Many thanks to all who have not been named but made this event happen and for those who have missed it, we will have more activities with the openPCR.