Among the countless things the Internet has done for society and the world at large is give regular people the ability to do things that we used to need experienced professionals for.
Need to do some patent research? You can access the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s database online (although help from a professional patent attorney is never a bad idea). Want to change out your car battery? Search for a how-to video on YouTube.
This DIY ethos is taking hold throughout all kinds of industries, including some of the more high-tech ones. Take a look at some of these amazing DIY gadgets that have come out over the past couple of years.
Bento Lab’s DIY DNA Analysis Kit
DNA analysis kits have been around for years, but they previously consisted of a vial you’d place some hair or saliva into, then send away to a lab for analysis.
Bento Lab has created a small, portable DIY DNA analysis machine that allows you to test a huge variety of products that could cost thousands to send away to a lab. The machine costs $723 – roughly as much as a mid-market PC.
The usage possibilities for this DNA analysis kit are huge. Bento Labs lists some ideas on their Kickstarter page that range from the kind of random, fun experiments you can do on yourself – test out your variation of the “athlete gene,” test your taste buds to see if they have the gene to detect bitter flavors – to more strictly scientific uses like field research or college biology projects.
The Little Devices Lab at MIT
This isn’t a single product, but a whole program devoted to helping medical professionals in developing countries who’ve come up with ingenious, inexpensive hacks to create or modify medical equipment.
The MIT scientists working with the Little Devices Lab have helped come up with all kinds of small, inexpensive, DIY medical technologies that change the way doctors and nurses are able to deliver care.
For example, take the MEDIKit. These kits are designed as a platform technology, meaning that the medical professionals who use them can modify them to fit their unique needs. The kits cover six different uses: drug delivery, diagnostics, microfluidics, prosthetics, vital signs and surgical devices. They come with coded medical device parts, technologic elements that can be adapted, and materials that allow for the building and modifying of the device.
OLO: The World’s First Smartphone 3D Printer
We’ve written quite a bit about how 3D printing is changing the world of prototyping and manufacturing, but up until now – with a few exceptions – most 3D printers are cost-prohibitive for the average user. Part of that is because most of us just don’t have enough need for 3D printing on a regular basis to justify spending $800 or more on the machine.
This smartphone printer, which is currently on Kickstarter where it’s raised $1.7 million of its $80,000 goal, is small, weighs less than a pound, and uses the light from your phone screen to print. And it only costs $99.
In the world of 3D printing, this could be a real gamechanger. According to TechCrunch, there will be 6.1 billion smartphone users around the globe – and with OLO, they could each be 3D printing simple products with the touch of a few buttons. This is what industry disruption looks like for manufacturing these days.
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