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Biology has become a powerful and revolutionary technology in today’s world, uniquely poised to transform and propel innovation in the near future. BioDesign Studio engages the public in interactive exhibits that spark imagination and confidence with the burgeoning fields of synthetic biology, bioengineering, biological design and DIY biology.
To demystify these cutting-edge fields and technologies, visitors are empowered to explore, tinker and design with the building blocks of life. The gallery delivers more than just knowledge; it allows people of all ages to personally create with biology. We hope to inspire and equip the creative problem‐solvers of the future with a biological tool kit and mindset.
Read more on Medium: Where Tech Meets Life
Explore unique and powerful fundamentals of biological systems with vivid displays. Put yourself in the shoes of a single cell or re-code the "fur" patterns of our adorable animals.
Living Colors Lab
You are the scientist in this 21st-century version of our well-loved jellyfish DNA wet lab. Use real lab gear to engineer multi-colored bacteria. Discover and add your own living colors to the wall!
Explore real-life innovations in biology — such as efforts to engineer mosquitoes to stop the spread of disease. Share your own vision of a future use for synthetic biology. Let your imagination run wild!
Creature Creation Station
Use our kit of tangible biological parts to build and program your own virtual creature! Then release it into an immersive world and watch it interact with other creations made by visitors like you.
In this evolving workspace, you can try innovative biodesign activities, participate in community projects and explore new biotechnology. Use real lab tools, create objects with living things, see bioengineered organisms and more.
These offerings are free with admission and first come, first served. Dates and times may vary.
Coming Soon - Algae String: Design and create colorful string using biological building blocks from ocean kelp and a dash of chemistry. Kelp is a type of large algae that contains long molecule chains, or polymers. The plastics that we use everyday are also made from polymers, but currently most of them are produced in a lab and not environmentally friendly. Algae polymers, however, are biodegradable, so could be a sustainable fiber of the future! Choose and mix ingredients to modify string properties and explore using chemistry to control the shape of it.
ChromoZONE: Explore the exciting world of genetics by doing experiments and activities with scientists from Stanford University. Ages 6+
Most Saturdays 12-2 and 2:30-4:30, selected weekdays from 10-12. Activities last 15-20 minutes and are first come, first served.
Exploring Ethics and Biotech
The Tech has partnered with the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University to help people identify and respond to the ethical questions presented by technology. Learn more:
- The Ethics of Biodesign
- Hacking Life? The Politics and Poetics of DIY Biology (PDF)
- DIY bio community Code of Ethics for the United States and Europe
- Little Prevention, Less Cure: Synthetic Biology, Existential Risk, and Ethics (PDF)
- Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues’ report on the ethics of synthetic biology and other emerging technologies
- View a lecture and slides from 2017 Regan Lecturer Mildred Cho of the Stanford Center for Biomedical Ethics: "Synthetic Biology in the Age of Biohacking"
- Or download the Ethical Decision Making app from the Ethics Center
BioDesign Studio in the News
April 20, 2016
WIRED: Synthetic Biology Is … Complex. But This Exhibit Makes It a Blast
March 21, 2016
Popular Science: First BioDesign Exhibit Opens in a Science Museum
March 18, 2016
KQED: BioDesign Studio Lets You Tinker With Biology to Make Something New
March 18, 2016
CBS SF: BioDesign Studio Opens at The Tech
March 18, 2016
Storify: BioDesign Studio Launch