Bioelectronix for artists @ playaround09, Taipei

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The workshop is an experimental make-workshop with multilayered outcome for people interested in BioArt, DIY-biology, microscopy, audio/visual experimentation and simple technological interaction with living microorganisms. Participants will become involved in sourcing and isolating microorganisms such as tardigrades, nematodes, daphnia and rotifers, hack webcams to be used for live-video microscopy and then develop free libre open hardware and software environments with which these organisms can be both viewed and become the subjects for simple interactions.


In this workshop the experiments will take place in a microscopic view of living microorganisms (e.g. water bears aka tardigrades, amoebae, nematodes and collected organisms from urban environments), which appears to be a world by itself - maybe due to the scaling and the amplification of a microscope, but maybe also due to all parameters of imagination that the microcosmos provokes. With the image and the movement of the organisms, the participants are encouraged to collect inspiration and bridge video and sound to what they experience with these small “animalcules”, as termed by their first observer Leeuwenhoek in 1677. A primary aim of the activity is to demonstrate that scientific/artistic experimentation can take place within the DIY and open source domains, and that biology and custom electronics can be friends.

The activities of the workshop will take place in 'close-up' – that is to say that a central focus of the activities will be the hacking of webcams to build DIY video microscopes. A small hack to the optics of a standard webcam allows to create video data, with a magnification of around 100 to 400x (depending on the model and the setup) at a working distance of a few mm. The highest magnifications can be achieved by inverting (putting upside down) the lens. Addition of good lighting (using a microcontroller (Arduino)) by the use of leds allows to create images using a bright-field method (shine through the stuff) or dark field method (shine from the side and look at the reflections and scattering).

The participants will learn

How to hack webcams to be used as microscopes, observe the behaviour and motion of the waterbears and other microorganisms, hack into electronic devices to integrate into bioelectronic culture devices and build habitats for the animals.


The software will be based around the use of Pd (and some of its libraries) and Arduino. The DIY video microscopes will allow various forms of video tracking via PiDiP and its possibilities for generation of sound and visual environments through Pd. Participants will also be free to use Processing / Wiring or any other open source tools they prefer.

Module D / Mentor:Marc R. Dusseiller Teaching Assistance :[UserPageca3rine|Lin, Pei-Ying] Language :_English Class Room : __Room AXX Environment : __ Application & Patchs :__ >>

!Day 1. BioElectronix {img src="img/wiki_up/lego_microscope.jpg",height="150",imalign="right"}

  • Introduction into BioElectronix
  • Install webcams
  • Hack webcams
  • On the scale of things
  • First observations

!Day 2. pd_microscope {img src="img/wiki_up/pd_microscope_all_cropped.png",height="150",imalign="right"}

  • Improve microscope setup
  • Control lighting and focus
  • pd_microscope
  • More about microscopy

!Day 3. BioArduino & Sensor {img src="img/wiki_up/hackteria_walk.jpg",height="150",imalign="right"}

  • Urban-Micro-Walk
  • Observations and Discussions
  • BioArduino
  • Biosensors

!Day 4. Living Audio/Visual {img src="img/wiki_up/tardi_cema.jpg",height="150",imalign="right"}

  • Finalize microscopy setup
  • Living audio/visual experiments
  • Brainstorm about installations
  • On Micro-Organisms

!Day 5. Mini Presentation

  • Organising exhibition space
  • Rehearsal for performance
  • showtime