Tag Archives: biology

First Open Science Meeting this Sunday at 6PM

Have you ever wished you could help direct investigations or do some hacking in areas like chemistry and biology (or others), but feel shut out of the scientific process because you don’t work in academia or industry?

Are you working in science within industry or academia, but feel locked into a narrow field of R&D that is dictated by conservative sources of funding either via business allocations to meet short-term profit imperatives or from government grants?

Open Science is the practice of making methodologies and results publicly accessibe as well as facilitating various degrees of distributed collaboration in the research process. “Hacking,” or altering the objects of study for various reasons, will be emphasized in our program for purposes that could range from art to biofuel development.

Please attend our meeting this Sunday and subsequent meetings every third Sunday of the month to help shape this nascent program. Early meetings will develop strategies for acquiring lab space and equipment, formating the program, and selecting initial group projects.

Who: Open to the public

Where: Pumping Station: One, 3354 N Elston Ave, Chicago, IL

When: This Sunday, December 18, 6pm (and every 3rd Sunday at 6pm)

Cost: Free

We look forward to meeting you!

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DIY Biology: Not Your Mother’s Biosensor Array

Whew! What a ride this past month and half has been! The last 48 hours especially have been one long blur of blinking lights, solder smoke, and beautiful biosignals, capped off of course, by a mad documentation dash.

Open Source, Open Future
Drew and Avner hard at work
Fuel for the long haul

Going into the final 24 hours we had a good handful of sensors working separately: EKG, pulse oxidation, GSR, CO2 and lung capacity. The only thing left to do was get them all working together. Oh, and off of breadboards. No big deal, right?

ECG and GSR shields

Well, not so much. While the sensors worked quite well on breadboards, moving them onto protoshields turned out to be more of a hassle than we anticipated. The signals we’re getting from the shields aren’t quite as accurate as the ones we got from the breadboards, though still well within acceptable limits for our purposes.

It's alive!!
EKG and heartrate signals in BrainBay

Anytime you’re hooking up an electrical device to a human being, it’s important to make sure that they’re not connected to the electrical grid (think about what an electrical surge can do to your computer, now imagine that your body is hooked up too).  To achieve this separation our biosensor uses bluetooth to communicate with a computer to display the signals.

Take that!
Drew slapped himself to elicit this GSR signal. What dedication!

Next Steps:

1) Get some sleep!

2) Improve the shield versions of our sensors.

3) Write our own display software, including applications for the N900 and Android.

4) Reach out to teachers and educators.

Finally, we’d like to thank Mitch Altman and everyone at Element14 for this awesome opportunity.  Special thanks to Jordan Bunker who stayed up late with us to help get this finished (and documented) and everyone else at PS: One that helped out over the past six weeks.

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The Great Global Hackerspace Challenge

For those of you who may not know, we at Pumping Station: One are participating in the Great Global Hackerspace Challenge organised by Mitch Altman and sponsored by Element14.  They’re giving $900 to 30 hackerspaces around the world, and giving us 5 weeks to design something awesome for education.  There are hackerspaces from five continents participating! (Scroll down on this page and check out this neat map with all the participants.)

Our project will be to create a biosensor array that will allow students to learn more about their bodies and do some DIY biology.  We’re going to have heartbeat sensors, temperature, CO2 levels, EKG and more!  I’ll be re-posting updates here, but we’ll be posting directly on the project blog on the element14 site.  (Feel free to follow us there!)

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