Science on a shoestring

Homemade magnetic stirrerMagnetic stirrer commonly used in labs to make homogenous liquid mixtures, like buffer solutions or microbial growth media. This battery-powered design can mix up to one liter of solution and allows for reproducible mixing over hours. A typical lab-grade magnetic stirrer costs about $250. This one costs $30. (Photo courtesy Tekla Labs)Lina Nilsson is addressing the frustrations of the world’s underfunded scientists. Nilsson, a bioengineering post-doctoral researcher, and her colleagues set up a collective called Tekla Labs. Operating under the premise that basic lab equipment doesn’t need to be prohibitively expensive, they design low-cost scientific instruments out of basic DIY hardware. The resulting plans and construction manuals are available for free on their website. See more at

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