DIYBio and Making at the BBC

This morning's biosecurity update from the Partnership for Global Security carried a mess of links I hadn't seen, including a story at the BBC entitled "Tech Know: Life hacking with 3D printing and DIY DNA kits".  The embedded video has an interesting clip on a printed stainless steel Mobius strip with freely moving rings that can run around the perimeter -- interlinked complex shapes.  Neat.  (Not a new thing in plastics, but I hadn't seen it in metal before.)

Cambridge's James Brown gets the honor of introducing the Beeb's audience to synthetic biology, biobricks, and engineering methods for biological systems.  The 3D-printed DremelFuge gets a photo and a significant mention.  I explicitly pointed to this sort of application of 3D printing in my book, though it is happening even faster than I had imagined.  Shapeways is now printing all sorts of interesting materials, though the resolution of most 3D printers and processes still doesn't make them useful for the sorts of objects I want to print.  That said, there is clear improvement over time.

It will be interesting to see how long it takes before you can print mixed media functional objects, say something like a zero-dead volume, positive displacement membrane pump.  Or better yet an entire pump block.  (Which is usually milled from a piece of stainless steel -- see where this is going?)  That gets you the most annoying bit of kit needed for a DNA synthesizer.  At which point you can forget any regulations limiting access to DNA of any sequence.