Think of the word “hack” and you might have negative mental images of illegal online activity, ala Mr. Robot. But the original idea of hacking was a positive one, where one would take things apart, understand how they work, and then work to improve them. Biohacking is defined by the Merriam – Webster dictionary as ” biological experimentation done to improve the qualities or capabilities of living organisms especially by individuals and groups working outside a traditional medical or scientific research environment”. And one institution in the Netherlands has taken this concept to a whole new level.
De Waag, a beautiful old building in the heart of Amsterdam, runs the Waag Academy, aimed at anyone who is interested in technology and experimentation, working outside the box, and coming up with innovative solutions.
A part of the academy is the Biohack Academy, where members of the public can do cool projects, such as fabricating common lab equipment like PCR machines, engineering biofactories, and even use biology to create art.
We had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Roland van Dierendonck, who leads this series of courses at the Biohack Academy. In this video, he describes the ideas that are investigated in the academy, which has led to some amazing projects that fuse science, technology and art together in a truly unique way. For more impressions of this, check out this link.