Bento Lab is the first in the world personal laboratory that enables scientists, biohackers, artists, and all curious minds to use essential lab tools anywhere and any time.
At Bento I worked on Bento's product design, user experience, and visual identity, as well as related elements of strategy and planning. In March 2016 Bento Lab launched on Kickstarter.
Photos by Maik Kleinschmidt for Bento Bioworks
The Bento Lab houses a powerful 3D-printed centrifuge, a mini PCR machine, and a gel electrophoresis unit with blue LED transillumination. Everything fits in a portable A4-sized dibond box.
When used in regular biotech labs the Bento Lab can serve as a compact, personal prototyping "sandbox" for testing out hypotheses and conducting draft experiments.
Bento Lab is portable, so it can be used to do basic lab work in almost any given setting, for instance at home, in the office, and even outdoors.
In 2013 I joined the UCL iGEM:E team to advise on a portable lab-in-the-box project. Initially, we called it Darwin Toolbox. The first version was enclosed inside an off-the-shelve suitcase for protection and portability. In later design versions we designed a bespoke dibond casing for the lab.
We built several prototypes and used them for testing with prospective users. Insights from conversations with bioengineers and biohackers informed not only our work on the Bento Lab hardware, but also sparked ideas for potential services around the kit itself.
The Bento Lab was presented multiple times in shows, conferences, and workshops around the world, including the iGEM 2013 competition at the MIT in Boston (when the Bento Lab was still known as Darwin Toolbox).