BIODESIGN for the REAL WORLD explores how biology and biotechnology can be designed within social contexts.

Collaboration with (Art)ScienceBLR (India), Lifepatch (Indonesia)

Our current focus is on water pollution – detection of heavy-metals using GMO bioreporters in the field, and coliform bacteria. We build our design projects and models of implementation around open source hardware, software and wetware. Through field trips and workshops and partnerships with institutions, we test the concepts and the -wares to understand the present state of our environments and the biotechnologies, and to affect the futures in the REAL WORLD.

As a powerful technological medium after industrial and digital revolutions, implementation and design solutions for biology and biotechnology needs to reflect a diversity of voices to be meaningful in society, not only to be guided by concerns of a few.

“We need more pluralism in design, not of style but of ideology and values.” – Anthony Dunne and Fiona Raby Speculative Everything

The conceptual basis is informed by Victor Papanek’s book Design for the Real World.

This project also aims to contribute methods in transdisciplinary and horizontal knowledge-production/sharing and bring the approach to traditional academic settings.


Co-founder, with (Art)ScienceBLR (India), Lifepatch (Indonesia)
EPFL Lausanne, Switzerland


WORKSHOPS – Creating active spaces for knowledge-production

Hackterialabs: “HackteriaLab, our version of a production workshop, is a form of cultural intervention, contributing to the development of our contemporary culture and art milieu. It creates a melting pot of the practices of art and science, of culture and environment. It aims to broaden the intercultural knowledge exchange and realizes this know-how through workshops, participatory prototype exhibitions and online wiki-like documentations.” also see Lab Making.

2013 HACKTERIALABHackteriaLab Bangalore (2013)

BIODESIGN ran a workshop on expanding and freezing down bioreporters with (Art)ScienceBLR at the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS), and defined the project directions on the handling of GMOs in citizen science contexts including the design of mobile labs [documentation]






2014 HACKTERIALAB-A4_web_smaller_2

HLab14 in Yogyakarta (2014)

BIODESIGN provided context with Lifepatch with local social and ecological issues in Yogyakarta, specifically the River Node, which features their long-standing work since 2011 on the Jogjya River Project. We also discussed the direction of mapping as a culturally relevant activity [documentation]






2014 Waterhackaton_web

Waterhackathon in Lausanne (2014)

Denisa Kera and I chaired the Openness Paradigm Session as part of the UNESCO Chair in Technologies for Development Conference: “What is Essential?”. The two-day Waterhackathon was produced in collaboration with hackteria as a parallel event, bringing conference attendees and local participants in a truly open and free hardware hackathon: Open Source Technologies for Rivers, Oceans and Lakes – Explore the Possibilities of Open Hardware for Open Science Projects. [documentation]




2016 Winter School

Braavoo Winter School in Lausanne (2016)

“The BRAAVOO Workshop and Creative Design Course, organized in collaboration with the Envirobot Project and BIODESIGN for the REAL WORLD, will provide an opportunity for 5 days of intensive learning and hands-on experience in biosensor theory and practice, culminating with the construction and use of both a bacterial biosensor and a field-portable DIY fluorescence detector. The course will offer possibilities to design, produce, and test a variety of heavy metal or organic compound biosensors.” [documentation]





Hirosue, S., D. Kera, H. Huang. Promises and Perils of Open Source Technologies for Development: Can the “Subaltern” Research and Innovate? in Technologies for Development: What is Essential? Hostettler, S., Hazboun, E., Bolay, J.C. Eds. 2015. Springer International Publishing, Switzerland. ISBN: 978-3-319-16246-1


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