Science on a shoestring

May 1, 2012
This article appeared in Berkeley Engineer magazine, Spring 2012

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