Tuesday June 12, 2012
DIS'12 workshop in Newcastle, UK
(DIY)biology: Designing for Open Source Science

We hope to address the following themes through hands-on activities and collective brainstorming and discussions:

Goals and motivations
What are the goals and motivations behind DIY biology? How do interactive systems support (or hinder) these?

DIYbio tools and materials
How are bio materials acquired, repurposed and/or assembled? How do materials (their availability or lack thereof) shape DIY biology practices?  How can novel technologies facilitate ‘open access’ to materials outside of professional labs?

Challenges and constraints
What are the challenges associated with DIYbio and how do communities work around them? How do new groups address the practical issues of acquiring labspace, managing resources, nurturing relationships with professionals, and building momentum (i.e. enticing ongoing biology projects)? What are the broader political and legal constraints around practicing biology outside of professional settings and how do hobbyists work around these?

Knowledge and expertise sharing
What new mechanisms might enable knowledge sharing in biology laboratories (DIY or professional)? How can new forms of information be integrated into and/or shared during wetlab experimentation?

Public engagement
What mechanisms and tools are used to engage members of the general public in biology projects? How do DIYbio practitioners reconcile public concerns regarding the safety and ethics of their practice? What new technologies might emerge to initiate dialogues between biology practitioners and stakeholders amongst the general public?

Ethics and safety
Practically speaking, individuals pursuing biology outside of professional settings often do not have access to tools and infrastructures for addressing biosafety questions such as disposal, sterilization or invasive species. More broadly, biology hobbyists must consider a host questions regarding the ethics of their work (such as, for instance, the ethics of harvesting or experimenting with living organisms). How can HCI and design interventions be used to foreground questions of ethics and safety and facilitate public discourse around DIYbiology?

Bio-electronic hybrids
What are the challenges and opportunities for interactive systems that incorporate organic materials as inputs and outputs?