Welcome to the wiki of the Hackuarium association, an open public lab, which wishes to democratise research!
At Hackuarium, we want to bring biology (and biologists) to the world, and the real world back to biology. Our laboratory is an excuse to meet and discuss, build and develop ideas in a neutral, open, noncompetitive and not-for-profit environment.
This page was launched during our 1st Ever Hackuarium Wiki Sprint that took place on 7 December 2014. As you might notice quickly, almost everything here is work-in-progress, even though this adventure has already been going on over 6 years!
(Hackuarium's official 'birthday' btw is 13Aug2014.)
Scroll down and find out what this is all about!
Open Science and Participatory Research are hot!
To avoid getting or spreading around Covid-19, the disease caused by SARS CoV-2:
1) Wash hands, especially before you touch your face.
2) Wear a mask when you can't keep physically distant from others.
3) Be responsible about trace-ability and keeping quarantine if you are in contact with anyone who has tested positive for the virus.
Hackuarium can be found at Route de Crochy 20, 1024 Ecublens
With its P1 lab on the southern side with three sets of windows, and the 'inner lab' for fluorescence, bioilluminescence, and some chemistry, Hackuarium is well set up. The context of the cooperative we formed, esp with members of Octanis and Polymeka (plus a few startups*), means possibilities for exploring and making in this peaceful corner of Ecublens are virtually endless!
1) This fabulous location, by the Crochy metro stop, even, is unfortunately already destined for destruction, so we are on the look out for a new space!
*** (Please pass on any leads you might have in this regard.)
2) This wiki page is currently - June 2020 - being edited for the first time since dec2019! looking forward to members adding some more info for 2020.
Everyone is welcome to our weekly Open Hackuarium meetings, continuing every Wednesday (still possibly virtually, in case of covid-19 incidence) 20:00-22:00 (contact us to rsvp and potentially for the zoom link at 'hello'(at)hackuarium (dot)ch *)
Support for our aims to democratise science can come in many forms, but active membership is of course the most fun for 'do-it-together' research...
Check out what we do, maybe join in for a workshop, and perhaps even come and join us!
Check the list below for other upcoming events.
What is DIYbio?
DIYbio (Do-It-Yourself biology) is a movement that wants to free the practice of biological research and innovation from the institutional and industrial laboratories. Pursued both by amateurs and professional biologists, DIYbio is developing low-cost and low-tech solutions to problems identified by the community.
The movement is characterised by an extremely diverse set of practices and participants. Some call themselves 'biohackers', in reference to the hacker culture. The quick solution (even if unconventional) is what is meant by hacks...
We actually believe more and more in doing DIT (Do-It-Together) Research, not just 'DIYbio,' as this seems much better for Open Science, and reflects better the scope of the trans-disciplinary projects we do (often not only biology). Another term people like to use is DIWO (Do It With Others)!
What is Hackuarium?
Hackuarium is a not-for-profit association aiming to democratise science through public engagement.
Our laboratories in Ecublens (Switzerland) are open to anyone sharing the values of the association and dedicated to follow the DIYbio Europe ethical guidelines.
Our projects are initiated and carried out by scientists and non-scientists from a variety of backgrounds. They are passionate about tinkering with biology in particular, and technology in general. Some are engineers, architects, designers, IT and computer scientists or retired professionals, but others have no scientific education. They are mostly citizens interested in open and participatory research and innovation, outside the constraints of traditional institutions.
Hackuarium members want to investigate new ways of carrying out interdisciplinary research and innovation, by making their results open, accessible (low-cost), simple and easily reproducible (low-tech) and by promoting an open source philosophy.
And if you are curious where the name comes from, take a look here.
For some History, you know what to do... ;)
To make a long story short, Hackuarium found a new home (yay!) in Ecublens, for the moment, with some like minds!
A cooperative (Space Alliance Coopérative) with two other associations (Octanis & Polymeka) and a few other startups came together to look for a new place to call home and provide space for everyone's projects and work. Our first activities at Route de Crochy 20 started in February 2019.
Where are we located?
Route de Crochy 20, CH-1024 Écublens, Switzerland (Ouest lausannois, m1 Crochy)
The overall map of the new space is shown to the right, with the new Hackuarium located primary in two rooms (marked with our little purple open science octopus logo).
The biolab is located in a south facing room of over 22m2, with three windows and a linoleum floor.
We also have a so-called 'inner sanctum' without windows, that is mainly for electronics and chemistry work, but can also be used for some biology studies, especially higher resolution microscopy (also with a Raspberry Pi camera on the old Zeiss scope, and with the option to try the OpenFlexure :) and bioluminescence studies, but growth of cultures is not allowed in this space.
(there is a carpet!)
There are also other Hackuarium 'assets' around the corner from the biolab, shown as purple rectangles on the map and including the sterile hood and the ultracentrifuge. A closet also contains a great deal of consumables and other labware. (We welcome project ideas that will use some of this! :)
To note once more: this building is really only a provisional space, as it is destined for destruction in the next 3-5 years!
We will continue to look for a more permanent space, while developing our community further and promoting Open Science!
Of course the problem with 'corona' is a new challenge for us all to surmount... Our biolab, with controlled P1 access, and the 'inner sanctum' for electronics and imagerie and more are already facilitating project experiments, even the #coronadetective, with more fun in the pipeline with our coop colleagues, like Sam and Raffael from Octanis, who were also early members of Hackuarium. In fact, Octanis was 'born' as a Hackuarium project, luckily for everyone... They are even now giving the old Hackuarium bioreactor project new life, and providing expertise for the new openflexure epifluorescence build! :)
Who are we?
Our members reflect the diversity that is in and around the Lausanne area.
Check us out, and find out what makes Hackuarium a good mix.
The current committee was elected during our annual general assembly meeting and duties for each person have been assigned:
For 2020, it is composed of the following people:
- President: Rachel Aronoff (also Participatory Research Facilitator and Biosafety Officer)
- Secretary: Esther Calderon
- Treasurer: Michel Horisberger (Masoud Alipour as backup)
- System Administrator: Tatiana Eliseeva
- Art and Science coordinator: Vanessa Lorenzo
- Talent scout and evangelist for Academy: Raphaël Casimir
- Community Happiness Coordinator and Link to the communes of the region of East Lausanne: Joël Christen
The next big meeting will be for everyone, the GeneralAssembly2021 gathering! Save the date, 10mar2021, please!
The last board meeting was a good way to start up 2021.
Since this strange time of covid-19, much of these 'meetings' have been virtual... Nonetheless, after some zoom meetings and more, like jitsi, progress was nonetheless made in this crazy situation, in spite of cancellations of planned events and activities, and even before the wiki was finally fixed (thanks to Tatiana!).
Members and Membership
Do you have a project in mind? Do you just want to support us?
Hackuarium operates on a membership basis, even though all events are open to anyone, including non-members.
The monthly membership fee is 20 CHF. It gives 24/7 access to the lab.
We would love to have you as a member! Just follow the instructions below.
Want to join?
- We have a form on the website, to fast-track joining the community, if you are keen, perhaps after a few #OpenHackuarium experiences (every Wednesday evening is open to the public).
- Read some helpful info here.
- Write an email to email@example.com and give us a short description of:
- Yourself, your interests, your background
- What you would like to learn or do at Hackuarium
Friends of Hackuarium
We would like to thank the Foundation Inartis for hosting our activities in Renens for the first four years (2014-2018) of our activities.
Our lab and space are open to the public. Please come and have a chat! And if you have any project ideas or questions get in touch!
OpenHackuarium: Every Wednesday, 19:00-22:00
As the current health crisis around covid-19 is far from being resolved, and in fact this second wave is somewhat frightening, with worries also about members' health, these will be held virtually, by Zoom. (from 18oct until further notice, please). Members of course can work, following security measures and distancing (no more than three people in the P1 lab for now) and also please write our hello (at) for organising any special visits...
You want to organise an event at Hackuarium, or with the Hackuarium community? We have these guidelines so it is easy for any member to do. (anyone want to add zoom info here? :)
Not a member? mail to hello (at) hackuarium (dot) ch to share your interests and learn more about the community!
(Maybe you will want to join us eventually? See above for further links to info in this regard!)
Upcoming Hackuarium Events
To Come Sometime Soon: a fond farewell to Luc Henry, one of our co-founders, who is currently pursuing innovation with our old lab manager, Yann Pierson, in their personalised gene therapy startup.
Watch this space!
- 2021.02.24 Wednesday 19:30-22:30: Decentralised Cryptocurrency & the Ecological
- 2021.03.03 Wednesday 19:30-22:30: an #OpenHackuarium for project updates and wiki love.
- 2021.03.10 Wednesday 19:00-20:30: GeneralAssembly2021
watching the 2nd wave now, which now thankfully seems to be almost subsiding after a long spell of too many new cases...
- still, encouraging virtual event planning...
you can also follow our google calendar
Other Upcoming Events
- Another Chat with JustinA (for a February #OH)
- XY (virtually, via zoom or jitsi)
Depending upon Corona numbers, etc! not looking good with Vaud a red zone... RA plans for virtual presentation (on the urban garden project), and the Hackuarium stand has been cancelled.
Past Hackuarium Events
You can find the complete list of our past events here.
You want to organise an event? Go for it!
Just follow these instructions.
Here, you will find the projects going on at Hackuarium.
- Open source spectrophotometer
- Living Instruments
- AGiR! projects at Hackuarium
- Urban gardens with rhizobial bacteria
- Open Source Bioreactor
- Steady state bioreactor
- Dans la Drêche
- Atelier à GoGo
- Workshop Bioprinter
- Micro to Macro Water Pollution - with Hammerdirt and BIO-DESIGN for the REAL WORLD
- Terraforming Alkaline Experiments
- DIY Transilluminator
- Stress Analyzer
- BIO-DESIGN for the REAL WORLD
- Octanis - All projects from the Octanis association have moved to a new space. For more information about their Rover / Balloon click here.
- Hacktion challenges
- Bience (Beer and Science!)
- Mycelium Structures
- Live Type
- LivingLab Design
- Quantitative Anthropology
- Impression 3D
- Projects:Dépollution des stands de tirs Suisses
- Incubateur bon marché
- Space Seed
- Reception d'images satellites
- Edible wall
- ZéBU CH
- Compost Bacteria
- Protein purification systems
- Colab Biomaterials
Rules at Hackuarium
We have very few rules at Hackuarium. The goal of the association is to provide freedom to its members, so they can explore beyond what is allowed elsewhere. However, we want members and anyone participating in our activities to feel comfortable and respected, and, especially for biosafety and the P1 lab, we want to make sure members always follow the rules.
This page describes the code of conduct for Hackuarium members.
Use of the Biolab (P1 lab=Biosafety Level 1 experiments possible)
As of November 2017, Hackuarium was officially hosting its own P1 laboratory. While we still lacked some essential infrastructure (-80 freezer, ventilated fume hood), we were (and still are!) working on it...
More can be found out about use of that previous facility by following the next link...
P1 Lab Activities
However, the new space in Ecublens has even more challenges, with the sterile hood not even fitting in the doors (or windows even) of the Biolab! So, while we indeed hoped to again qualify as an official P1, we were not yet sure intil 6June2019, when a visitor from Bern (mandataire from BAFU) came to the lab to inspect everything, and ended up telling us to go on ahead and work (after admin details sorted - address change with BAFU)! What great news!
The Biolab Use and Safety page specifies equipment and standard operating procedures in the lab in the context of the cooperative in Ecublens.
12 members have already done the intro to biosecurity (but not all have yet signed their waivers!) and will have 24/7 access to the lab.
Interested in developing a project with us?
We look forward to seeing you there!
Many protocols that we use at Hackuarium will be found here (work in progress). They are detailed and structured so that the main focus is on applications. The idea is to give crucial information on how to apply the most common techniques of the Biology toolbox. The protocols are structured as follow:
- A scheme describing each
- A brief description of the protocol and its use
- A description of the different ways of carrying out the protocol. Ideally there should be a description of a commercial kit and a DIY kit.
- A description of the safety issues and best practice
- Information specific to Hackuarium and where to find the components, tools and reagents.
Consumables in stock
You can check online the [consumables in stock].
This page describes all the instruments available at Hackuarium (work in progress..), their location and how to use them.
A list of instruments we still need
This on-line document contains a list of instruments, tools and consumables we are looking for generally. We could also greatly use an ordinary dissecting scope (binocular loupe) with non-heating illumination for manipulations of microbes of all sorts (i.e. for the Moss Menageries). We have a standard donation contract (contrat de donation, in French) and if your organisation happens to want to discard a piece of equipment we are (or may be) looking for, contact us!
Where we shop
As a general rule, we do not buy anything. We try to recycle, upcycle, bicycle, epicycle anything we can, or ask around if anyone can provide supplies for free.
In some cases it does not work out, and so these are the place where we can find what we need.
In any case, Please contact a member of the Board, if you need to order anything in the name of Hackuarium.
Labware and Reagents
Consumables and some chemicals can be purchased from Huber Lab.
More chemicals can be obtained from Carl Roth.
If necessary, other chemicals and biochemicals can be obtained from Sigma Aldrich.
Molecular biology tools can be purchased from Qiagen.
Swiss-based Smiples has a very extensive listing of second hand laboratory and technical items. These can be bought from their online shop or from Ricardo.
But most laboratory hardware can be obtained from our network of friends and partners. Get in touch with Luc Henry if you need anything specific and we'll do our best to find it.
Algae, protozoa, aquatic life and educational kits: | Sciento
Bacteria, global biosource center (Hackuarium has a customer account, shop through our Biosecurity manager): | ATCC
Carolina.com is another source, much less expensive than ATCC for (for instance) the rhizobial bacterial strain!
Options for electronic parts:
- Ebay (international)
- AliExpress (China)
- Adafruit (UK)
- Seeedstudio (China)
- Tmart (Hong Kong)
- Rasberry pi shop (Switzerland)
- Distrelec (Switzerland)
How to build a new project page on our Wiki
If you want to start or edit a project page on Hackuarium's wiki, please follow these instructions.
The DIY biology / Biohacking movement
And a much more complete list by Massimiliano Simons, KU Leuven:
Media and Press
Please check our Press kit out. It includes a prototype Press review of most of our media appearances over the years.
We now have an identification number aka Participant Identification Code (PIC) from the European Participant Portal for any Horizon 2020 application. The Hackuarium PIC number is 907732306. It can be verified on the official search engine.
Do you want to contribute to making Hackuarium a diverse and lively community? Check out our wanted lists:
* and of course a brewery - La Peregrine.