maandag 31 mei 2010

Debate-designers are getting ever more creative: this Dutch initiative invites artist, designers etc. to participate in 'Nano Supermarket' with their new Nano-products. The submission deadline was today. I'm very curious what the results will be, and whether they will be as thought and debate provoking as you hope they will be... For now, it's too early to say anything else, but I can't wait to visit the actual event!

By the way: the organisations' website,, is definitely worth a visit on itself, because of the news items. Check it out:

Algae powered lamp

Last year, I wrote about Mike Thompson, recently graduated from the Design Academy in Eindhoven. He's a young designer/artist working at the edge of science & design. I love his work! His fascinating project 'Blood Lamp' was displayed at sciencefest Discovery 2009, and this year he exhibited his work in Milano! Today, I received a press release from his latest idea: Latro, algae powered lamp.

Mike Thompson:'In 2010, scientists from Yansei and Stanford University pioneered a technique by where 30-nanometre wide gold electrodes were inserted into the photosynthesising organs – chloroplasts – of algal cells, thus managing to draw a small electrical current from algae during photosynthesis. As advances in nanotechnology lead to increasingly energy efficient products, plant life such as algae will become attractive sources for tapping energy. Latro is one such product that responds to this future market.

Latro (latin for thief) incorporates the natural energy potential of algae and the functionality of a hanging lamp into its design. Synthesising both nature and technology in one form, Latro is a living, breathing product. Algae are incredibly easy to cultivate, requiring only sunlight, carbon dioxide (CO2) and water, offering a remarkably simple way of producing energy. Breathing into the handle of the lamp provides the algae with CO2, whilst the side spout allows the addition of water and release of oxygen. Placing the lamp outside in the daylight, the algae use sunlight to synthesize foods from CO2 and water. A light sensor monitors the light intensity, only permitting the leeching of electrons when the lux level passes the threshold – avoiding algae malnourishment. The energy is subsequently stored in a battery ready to be called upon during hours of darkness. Owners of Latro are required to treat the algae like a pet – feeding and caring for the algae rewarding them with light'.

More info about Mike can be found on his website:

woensdag 12 mei 2010

Bio:Fiction festival - invitation to make a movie on synthetic biology!

In my mailbox I found this message about a festival in Vienna which might be interesting for film makers interested in the field of synthetic biology:

'The 1st Bio:Fiction Science, Art & Filmfestival aims at attracting public awareness to synthetic biology and its ramifications for our daily life in the future.
Synthetic biology is the design and construction of new biological systems not found in nature. Synthetic biology aims at creating new forms of life for practical purposes. By applying engineering principles to biology scientists will be able to design life forms much different from breeding or traditional genetic engineering.

We want to encourage filmmakers to share their cinematic visions of a present or future society shaped by synthetic biology. What is your view on a world living with synthetic life forms? Your approach is up to you - the filmmaker, scientists or artist - the entries can be on science, fiction, or science fiction. We welcome regular short film, animation or documentary film. The main criteria is that synthetic biology has to be reflected somehow in the work, but how you do it is up to you.

Prizes will be awarded in the following categories:

Bio:Fiction Award - Short Fiction
Bio:Fiction Award - Documentary Film
Bio:Fiction Award - Animation
Online-Audience Award
Special Award of the Jury
(the prize money in each category will be announced soon)

On you will find more useful and inspiring information on synthetic biology, the entry form and the regulations of the filmfestival.
The nominated films will be presented in public at the festival event in Vienna, Austria, in May 2011. Finally, a Bio:Fiction Award ceremony will build the highlight of the festival.

The deadline for film entries is the 15th of July 2010

There is no entry fee for submitting films.'.

Knitted lab rat/Gebreid proefdier

(English Below!)
Ik vind het enorm fascinerend dat je proefdieren, ik geloof vooral muizen en ratten, kunt bestellen (voor lab-onderzoek, niet zomaar!) met een specifieke genetische make-up, zodat ze bijvoorbeeld snel een bepaalde soort kanker ontwikkelen. Als niet-wetenschapper klapperen je oren als je dat soort informatie hoort. Een hele nieuwe wereld! Hierboven een foto van een kunstwerk voor in wetenschap geinteresseerde mensen: zonder dat er een dier voor heeft hoeven sterven, want geheel gebreid! Zie

I think it's totally fascinating that as a scientist working with test animals (or what is the English phrase?), you can order rats or mice with a specific genetic make-up, with for instance a genetic disposition for a certain type of cancer. As a non-scientists, that kind of information is rather surprising! A whole new world, where people shop for very curious things... In the picture a cool artwork for the science interested. It's made without having to really dissect a rat, because it's totally knitted! Check it out at