Hmm... just saw this clause in the rules
"Non-microbial props within the piece are also not allowed."
So I say Fuck'em - let's do it anyway, and do such an awesome job that they
get so embarrassed that they have to make a special prize just for us! :-D
On Tue, Sep 24, 2019 at 10:40 AM Patrik D'haeseleer <patrikd(a)gmail.com>
I have a potentially prize winning idea, but I need
As you might know, I've been teaching Agar Art workshops at CCL - painting
with colored bacteria! Next session is this coming Monday
American Society for Microbiology is holding a yearly Agar Art Contest
<https://www.asm.org/Events/2019-ASM-Agar-Art-Contest/Home> that we can
submit some of our best work to.
My idea is to embed a little LED circuit *in the agar* in a Petri plate,
light up a UV LED, and then trace the circuit on top of the agar in
fluorescent E. coli!
Here's the part I need your help with... we'll need to experiment a bit
with different circuit implementations to figure out what works best. I can
easily solder a little "throwie" circuit myself, but I don't think
have time to go through half a dozen designs to see what works best (or at
all). So ideally I'd love to partner up with somebody why can crank out a
couple circuit versions while I focus on the wetlab side. You'll get full
share of the credit and any prize money of course.
A couple complications:
- I would love to be able to autoclave the circuit before embedding it
in agar, to eliminate any possible contamination. This involves heating to
121C/250F for 20 minutes under steam. Not sure which materials will stand
up to that (batteries? plastic LED?)
- The normal E. coli growth medium is quite conductive. We should be
able to use a medium without salt, but it will likely still have some
conductivity. We could try coat the entire circuit in clear epoxy to
insulate it though.
- The circuit will still need to give off enough light after been
embedded in agar for several days. Coin cell throwies do last a couple
days, but UV LEDs are a bit more power hungry, so perhaps we could try a
- Having the UV LED on continuously may not be healthy for the
bacteria growing on top, so we may need to include a Reed switch or some
other mechanism to turn the LED on remotely.
- More complicated circuits = extra awesomesauce! Can we build a
circuit that measures the pH in the agar under an acid producing bacteria?
Create a grid of electrodes that affects the growth of bacteria growing on
top of it?
- Ideally, the whole circuit would fit inside a 10cm Petri dish -
let's call it 9.5cm diameter, and no more than about 1cm in height. If
necessary, we do have access to larger and deeper Petri dishes though.