Science Appliances was a design research project as part of my degree project at Goldsmiths College, University of London. As part of the project I got to live out my childhood dream to become a scientist and figure out a way to inspire other non-scientist to engage with science and experimentation.
In many people’s eyes, scientific discovery is limited to the expensive experiments of institutional science. One needs to have the right tools and the budget to make a difference. Gone are the early days of science, where self-proclaimed natural philosophers and hobbyists made important discoveries in their kitchen sinks or between the weeds in their back yard.
“So how can anyone in this day and age, who is not a certified scientist, contribute to our understanding of the world?“
I started my journey conducting my own DIY experiments and interviewing scientists at institutions like the Diamond Light Source, CERN, and John Innes Centre Genetics Research Lab in Norwich to gain a better understanding of the current state of science see these experiments up close.
Cost and know-how turned out to be the main factors limiting access to the right tools and thus the means to conducting your own experiments at home.
It was at the DIY Biology Club, a part of the London hackspace, when a solution presented itself. Here anyone could learn about and experiment with DNA and Synthetic Biology using improvised tools made from general household materials, following structured open-sourced materials. But for most people making their own equipment presents another roadblock. Kitchen appliances turned out to be the closest thing normal people would have to scientific instruments, which sparked the question:
“What if I were to design appliance that could easily be turned into scientific instruments?”
As prototypes, Domestic Science Machines envision a scenario where scientifc experiments and scientifc exploration are made more accessible to the general public, by placing the right tools into people’s homes. These machines are home appliances that can be easily transformed into scientific instruments and be paired with a comprehensive open-sourced knowledge base aimed at beginners. The hope is that, when people are given the right tools and knowledge, they are more more prepared to to discovery something new in their seemingly ordinary surroundings.
The coffe machine spectrometer uses light to analyise the chemical compounds of coffee or any other material you want experiment with.
The salad spinner centrifuge takes advatage of the centripetal force generated by the spinning motion to seprate liquids.
The portable microscope allows the user to explore the microscopic around them through a modified webcam connected to a tablet for display.
A slow cooker that can used as a DNA cycler to grow DNA for experiments with synthetic biology.