Third stop in our tour of (bio)hackerspaces in North America: BioCurious, one of the first biohackerspace in the USA. Tito Jankowski, co-founder of this great biohacklab opened to everyone, shares with us some of his interesting projects and his vision of hacking.
Could you introduce yourself?
I’m one of 6 co-founders of BioCurious, a community biotech lab in Sunnyvale, California near San Francisco. Tools, chemicals, expertise, and space are such a barrier to biotechnology. I’ve worked on a few different startups including Pearl Biotech making gel electrophoresis kits, OpenPCR making an open source PCR machine, and Scanadu, building a medical scanner that fits in your pocket. That helps with tools and chemicals, and BioCurious helps with expertise and space. We need a community biotech lab in every city.
What does hacking represent for you?
To me hacking represents the best way to get things done today. Biotechnology is so diverse that you need a little bit of this little bit of that to make a discovery. A little physics, a little chemistry, a little art, a little electronics, and always blood and sweat of course. All those specialities come together really well.
What do you expect from a hackerspace?
I think hackerspacers are a cool model for education. Traditional education says you’ll be trained once in school and go off and be “done” for the rest of your life. That idea is outdated, things change too quickly. Hackerspaces allow people to pick up new skills, find new friends, and even re-invent their careers. You might expect these activites to happen at a University or college, but the activation energy for someone to go back to college is so high. You need to quit your job, take out more loans, and disappear into school for a few years. Most people can’t afford to make that investment. Hackerspaces and community labs enable adventurers continue to discover and learn.
>> Picture: Dailylaurel (CC)