We are reinventing together the concept of laboratory, to make Science and Technology more open, shareable and available to everyone.
LA PAILLASSE is:
- The collaborative spirit of makers who embraces biology,
- A collaborative space and a fablab merged with a biotech research lab.
- A genuine space of freedom and counter-culture for explorers and curious minds.
In order to offer this unique space of experimentation in France where designers, scientists, artists, makers, entrepreneurs, engineers and citizens can freely invent the Future, we now need your support to make this unique adventure happen.
THE VALUES OF LA PAILLASSE
In This talk at LIFT 2014 in Geneva, Thomas Landrain, founder and president of La Paillasse, presents how and why biohacking has emerged; he explains what is a biohacker-space. Among several examples of biohacking projects, he delves into home-grown ink, one of many biotech applications that you can develop and use at home.
FROM A GARAGE LAB TO PARIS CITY CENTER
At the beginning, LA PAILLASSE is a fabulous experience born in a squat of the Parisian suburb area. The early clandestine lab has since grown and turned into one of the largest community labs in the world.
THE BIOSCAVENGER CAMPAIGN
How can we equip a modern biology lab for free ? We go scavenging for pieces of left-over lab equipment dumped by academia and private firms. Recycling is really a gold mine for the construction of a low-cost lab. To reach the thousands of French labs, we use our community, your community. We launched the bioscavenging campaign(biochineurs) so that everyone can help in our recycling effort. With this campaign, we hope to recover enough material to equip not only La Paillasse's new site in Paris, but also to help our budding network in France (Lyon, Bordeaux, ...) and abroad (Lausanne, Manila, ...).
WHEN NASA FUNDS LA PAILLASSE
La Paillasse received last year a grant from SPACE GAMBIT, a NASA-funded foundation, to develop a cheap and open source bioreactor. When NASA funds a squat to send humans into space, it validates the ecosystem of La Paillasse; it demonstrates the strength of free and open innovation!
WIRED UK IS SPEAKING OF US
WHY DID WE CREATE LA PAILLASSE ?
On one hand Science has become too expensive and much complicated to quickly prototype ideas. On the other hand, scientists and non-scientists miss places where they can meet and exchange ideas, outside the impenetrable walls of scientific institutions. In a time when we are in need of better and cheaper biotechnologies, we took the initiative of building a modern biotech lab as a hackerspace. It is open to everyone, without diploma. It is cheap to use, the membership fee is what you make it. All projects and products are made with an open license and the benefits are re-invested to promote ever better projects. It also means everyone can go back to an old project, fix it, transform it and make it always better. For the first time, makers, designers, artists, scientists, students and any man, woman or child are able to try their hands at biology. No need to save the world. No need to be published in a science journal, and no need to race for a patent. Do what you want, do what you like and have fun with anyone you could wish to invite. Barely two years old, we already have 10 projects incubating, with young designers, engineers and biologists. We hope to make biology easier to access to everyone. It is too important to be left solely in the hands of professionals.
LA PAILLASSE MOVES TO PARIS!
Two months ago, with the support of the City of Paris, La Paillasse left its suburb squat to move into a 750m2 (8072 sqft) headquarter, in the middle of Paris! Le Sentier, the digital innovation campus of Paris.
La Paillasse is now located in a cloister of the 18th century at 226 rue Saint Denis in the 2nd arrondissement of Paris just between the NUMA (Digital innovation hub) and the Gaite Lyrique (Museum for digital arts), in the veryheart of the Sentier district
The new space of La Paillasse is bound to become a unique place with its peculiar mix of biotechs, robotics and ancient stones.
The space will be divided into two areas: the ground floor for co-working and conference rooms and the large basement (the caves!) that will host the labs.
THE GROUND FLOOR
Here are some the projects that are being developped at La Paillasse. The community of La Paillasse has a great range of skills, allowing us to work on a wide range of problems using software, hardware and wet lab approaches.
GROW YOUR OWN INK [AVAILABLE AS A WORKSHOP]
What would happen if instead of buying regular non-recyclable ink at a high price, everyone could produce ink at home in an eco-friendly way? We were able to develop the first protocol to manufacture biodegradable organic ink using bacteria. You can even change the colour by changing acidity. This ambitious project is currently being developed through the joint efforts of biologists and designers.
LOW COST GENETIC TEST [AVAILABLE AS A WORKSHOP]
We created a very low cost system for genetic tests (10 to 100 times less expensive than the standard commercial offer). It allows everyone to decrypt his biological environment (plants, animals, food, ...). A simple and unexpensive tool for the analysis of different genetic signatures such as those of genetically modified organism (GMO). With these tests you can also tell which meat is used in your hamburger: beef or horse, organic or modified?
Electronic components are now very difficult to recycle. Once discarded in the environment, the pollution createdcan take centuries to disappear naturally. We are currently working with engineers at Sony to experiment and develop a biodegradable conductive material. Such technology could reduce drastically the impact of electronics on the environment.
Biological reactors are routinely used in the academic and industrial fields to control and optimize the growth conditions of microorganisms. Bioreactors are useful for the mass production of biomolecules and to detoxify waste. Those tools are central to many laboratories but are extremely expensive to acquire. We recently obtained a7500 $ grant from the SpaceGambit foundation, funded by NASA and DARPA, to develop a low-cost and open-source bioreactor accessible to all.
PRACTICAL AND THEORETICAL WORKSHOPS
We organise regular workshops to introduce the public to the concepts and technics used in basic research (DNA barcoding, PCR, DNA sequence comparison). We also organise debates on the progress of research and biotechnology.
We organise regular conferences on emerging technologies, where we invite current leaders to present and share their vision with the community of La Paillasse. This is how we connect La Paillasse to a large number of innovation ecosystems worldwide.
Over the last two months since we arrived at "226 rue Saint-Denis", there have been no less than thirty events and meetings between makers, entrepreneurs, designers and scientists ! Our goal is to become a hub for all creative communities that are curious about and that need technology. With the installation of a complete laboratory, La Paillasse in Paris will be able to host a hundred projects in parallel !
La Paillasse is supported by a dedicated team with various skills ! Some scientists, some engineers, others come from design, business and law, or even professional globe-trotters! What unites us all is the motivation to reinvent the way in which science is serving society.