Making for Biotech in Africa: Manufacturing Low-Cost Lab Equipment

Short thesis

Using 3D printing innovation, we will hack and build simple low-cost DIY open science lab equipment.


Basic science and biotech research are driven by top-notch instrumentation. Unfortunately, the lack of instrumental access in labs in Africa affects how research is done. DIY Biohacking and Open science hardware, a movement that embraces the use of maker culture and open science, enables scientists from low resource backgrounds to use open manufacturing protocols and biology principles to build their own lab equipment. This workshop will re:connect DIY Bio lovers, tech makers and students.

Biotechnology involves the use of biological and engineering principles to develop useful solutions in agriculture, medicine, health and environmental pollution. It is achieved through research and development (R&D), which is dependent on the use of high quality science instrumentation. The challenge therefore, has always been the cost of acquiring these instruments and the closed knowledge system through intellectual property (IP) preventing the sharing of manufacturing protocols for local and distributed manufacturing at the consumer point. These challenges and many more have affected how research and education is done, hence affecting the use of biotechnology as an emerging tool in addressing the critical socio-economic challenges faced by governments of Africa.

With the growing movement of open science and hardware, consumers and local innovators are being empowered to have access to manufacturing protocols through repositories under open license agreements. This creates a different narrative in the local manufacturing landscape in low resource settings. It is important to engage communities, users and consumers alike within the maker movement to show its potential in addressing critical socio-economy problems like youth unemployment.

What participants can expect:

  • Learn how to 3D print
  • Learn to open accounts and access protocols from GitHub, GitLab, Open Science Frame and other repositories
  • Learn to program an Arduino
  • Assemble at least one DIY lab equipment.