EMW Youth Science Initiative

I think Julie Andrews was onto something when singing about the Bavarian Alps being *alive* with the sound of music…

The completed microbiome records.
Completed microbiome records.

At Ginkgo Bioworks, we think a lot about what our microbes are making: colors, flavors, fragrances, cosmetic and nutritional actives… the list goes on. In October we teamed up with East Meets West Street Bio for their first Youth Science Initiative, and it got us thinking about microbes in a new way. What do microbes sound like?

One of the microbiome record players *tuned* during the beatmaking activity.
One of the microbiome records *tuned* during the beatmaking activity.

For their iGEM project, the EMW Street Bio team built a microbial “record player” that can sonify the colonies on petri dishes, turning microbiome swabs to into beats. Ginkgo recently hosted the EMW Youth Science Initiative and spent the day with middle schoolers talking shop about microbes and robots and biota beatmaking.



EMW's David Kong explains the concept of a biota beatmaker.
EMW’s David Kong explains the concept of a biota beatmaker.

The kids learned how to make patterns with liquid handling robots, created their own microbial records, and designed organisms that they’d like to see in the future. Think: yeast that can turn dough into bread without an oven; microbes acting as water quality indicators, purifiers, and colored contact lenses; food spoilage detectors; and more!

Meghna swabbing her elbow for a beat.
Swabbing for beats.
Culturing tooth microbes.
Imagining microorganisms of the future.

Between this event and our evening with the Extrapolation Factory, we Ginks have been thoroughly enjoying these futuristic ideation sessions with members of our community and are so inspired by the STEAM leaders of tomorrow.

Future STEAM leaders posing with their completed records.
Future STEAM leaders posing with their completed records.





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