The most recent series in Nature’s Soapbox Science blog focuses on different ways scientists worldwide are funding their research in the current economic climate. Tekla Labs, Kickstarter, and Petridish are all featured as new avenues for scientists to fufill their research needs in the face of decreasing federal funding and parallel increases in crowdsourcing and social networking.
and of course Tekla Labs couldn’t agree more. Go Make!
To see some of the type of creative stuff in the talk for yourself (or to showcase your own designs!), go to one of the Maker Faires. The next Bay Area Maker Faire is May 19 & 20. NY’s edition is in September.
Tekla Labs’ 3D printing competition is on and the first designs have been submitted! We’ll be acccepting submissions until the end of April.
There have been some questions about the ownership/sharing of submitted designs: we’re encouraging everyone to be as open as possible and to share their designs through our website or other online portals. See the competition guidelines for details of our open license suggestion. However, this is ultimately up to you, and feel free to suggest alternatives that work for you!
In addition, Instructables is hosting an even larger competition – Make it Real – with $100,000 in prizes for the best designs! And best of all, you can submit the same designs to both competitions! Thanks to Instructables again for sponsoring our competition at the same time as they are running their own and for supporting “2-for-1″ dual submissions.
We at Tekla Labs are very much looking forward to the second annual Science Hack Day, coming up on November 12 & 13th. Tickets are free but limited, so we suggest you get yours soon! Science Hack Day is a 48-hour event that brings together scientists, designers, hackers, and anyone else interested in problem solving/learning/having fun to collaborate on user contributed science hacks. You can check out the demoed hacks from last year here, and look at what people have planned or add your own ideas to this year’s hacks here. Hope to see you there!
The June 29th issue of Nature features a really interesting collection of articles on the challenges African countries face in scientific research and development. The pieces provide a wide range of perspectives and opinions on the state of science in Africa–including first-hand accounts of the issues facing scientific advancement in African nations, and an editorial piece that posits ways in which researchers in wealthier nations can contribute to scientific growth in Africa. All of the articles are good reads, highlighting the need for sustainable solutions to the lack of scientific funding and research capacity in the developing world, and hopefully getting people thinking about how they can help build a global scientific community.
We just got word of an exciting project coming from the scientists over at backyard brains. They have developed a Brain Recording Kit that allows the DIY researcher to see and hear the electrical activity of neurons. Simple, 3-step video instructions will guide you through building your own Spiker Box, and a series of experiments and tutorials posted will get you started as an electrophysiologist. For those less inclined to build their own, but who’d like to get in on some DIY electrophysiology, the Spiker Box Kit can be purchased pre-assembled and ready to be used for experiments upon delivery. And keep checking back in with backyard brains; they just received a grant from the NIH to help develop their project, so you can expect many more tutorials and interesting experiments will be added to their site in the near future.
This is a neat project on making machine shop tools using recycled and off-the-shelf parts. So far, Pat Delaney and his collaborators have made a “multimachine” (lathe, grinder, mill, saw, etc), as well as a dedicated lathe, a steel drill, and a simple electricty generator. See read about more projects like this one at engineering4change.