Hackteria Lab Jan 31 - Feb 14
Day 1 - introduction to scientists, artists, participants of the hackteria lab 2013 Bangalore.
On the first day we were introduced to the artists/participants and had a presentation of the kind of work they do. It was a combination of various new fields that people come from. It was entirely new, especially having them all together - seeing that kind of a collaboration, which doesn't happen at all. Not even at schools or now at colleges. Most of us try to be open minded but stay stuck in one field for some reason.
Wine brewing had began, experimenting with the local fruits. There hasn't been much done (at least not well known) in brewing the local fruits and consuming such wines. I guess they're not commercially successful or advertised, so nobody is willing to experiment more. The process of brewing itself is engaging and being able to produce something you can later use.
Here Sachiko explained how the DNA of E.coli has been modified and how it's used to detect arsenic contamination with a limit of 5 µg/l
Day 2 - Paper circuits & preparing growth mediums for E.coli
After a brief on how we can create paper circuits we worked on making something in groups. I worked with Reuben and Sreemoyee. It was an all day struggle to create parallel circuits at which we succeeded  only the next day. It reminded me of school and how at least i thought it was supposed to be easy. Again, circuits, electrical devices (as tiny as led lights) is something foreign or rather hard to find in our design school, nobody's taken any of that further yet. I really enjoyed working with different mediums and would like to explore more.
There was an electronic workshop of gathering things labelled as e-waste at the NCBS.
We got to work on Sachiko's project after the growth mediums had been in the shaker overnight, diluting the samples on agar plates for the bacteria to grow. This involved a lab experience , using the different objects and seeing the lab of NCBS. It was odd being in an environment where you don't know what most stuff is.
Feb 8 & 9 Chloroplast isolation and Zebra fish hacking
Extraction of chloroplast from tobacco leaves.
Further introduction to bioart, different experiments involving dna modification. Zebra fish hacking - chloroplast injection in the embryo. Making it possible to carry out photosynthesis.
I'm still having split opinions about bioart and genetical modifications. While historically so much has been modified - flowers, animals, fruits. I am not used to this topic at all because we are so familiar with the already modified things around us (assuming that's how it's always been like) and nobody really cares to explore or understand more whether they occurred naturally or not. Maybe it is just my unfamiliarity to science and the fiel of dna modifications that make you think they are wrong. I guess i'm finding more unethical but still accepting it or trying to. Maybe it's one of those things that will always remain disputable. As of now I don't really see the need to modify on a DNA level plants or animals in order to save them from extinction or something.
In terms of our bio-sensor project, I do see some importance in this field but i don't know how it helps ie testing the contamination levels. Yes, it is necessary to know whether water is conta minated but with this test alone you cannot eradicate the water issues ( i know that isn't our aim). Water quality and working towards it is extremely dependent on the government and certain institutions but i was just wondering what happens next. Let's say a village tests their water and it's contami nated. How do they get clean water? Most likely they don't and they have no other option to use this water. Might as well not know how poisonous it is.