▸ Research Overview

 

It is the  vision of our lab that micro-biological systems become as interactive, programmable, and useful as our personal electronic devices. We are inspired by people like Douglas Engelbart, Joseph Licklider, Ralph Baer, and Seymour Papert, who made computing interactive, accessible, intuitive, affordable, and fun. Biological processes transcend electronic computation in many ways, e.g., they synthesize chemicals, generate active physical forms, and self-replicate - thereby promising entirely new applications to foster the human condition. Our research and design space focuses on dynamic multi-cell assemblies.

 

We take a combined top-down / bottom-up approach: (1) We pioneered Interactive Bio-Technology’ (IBT) that enables humans to directly interact with living multi-cell assemblies in real-time, and (2) We utilize synthetic biology and biophysics to facilitate the understanding, engineering and programming of novel Multi-Cell Patterns and Forms. As illustration of impact, we developed realtime Biology Cloud Experimentation Labs that lower the access barriers to life-science experimentation for education and research, and we developed cell-cell adhesion toolboxes that open the design space for true synthetic multi-cellularity.

 

Our research program is built upon a uniquely interdisciplinary approach that bridges domains as diverse as cell motility, genetic engineering, modeling and analytics, microfluidics, embedded systems, cloud lab architectures, computer science, (biotic) game design, and education. Our long-term goal is that biotechnological equipment becomes as interactive, user friendly, and ubiquitously used as their electronic counterparts. (“A biotic computer on every desk.”)

 

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Interactions with electronic devices have become ubiquitous over the past 50 years. How will interactive biotic devices (‘biotic computers’) revolutionize the next 50 years?