@JennWebb recently wrote an article for the O’Reilly Radar titled Democratizing Technology and the Road to Empowerment. She starts out the article with a nice summary of what it means to Democratize Technology. Jenn writes “Advancements in technology are making what once was relegated only to highly educated scientists, engineers and developers accessible to — and affordable for — the mainstream.“ Now, the blog she writes for is focused on the intersection of Hardware and Software (or the “physical and digital worlds” is how they phrase it), while we at RoosterBio are imagining a World where biotechnology, specifically living cellular technologies, are simplified and cost-reduced to the point that you don’t have to be a PhD researcher in a well-funded laboratory to perform your own experiments or build novel things out of living cells. The concept of biology paralleling the advances of IT are well laid out elsewhere.
Today, it is much easier to incorporate living cells into your research than it was 20 years ago. This is evidenced by the proliferation of Cell Biology capabilities in Engineering departments all over the world as Biomedical Engineering has turned into a formalized academic discipline. When I was doing undergraduate research at the University of Michigan in the early 1990’s, it took months and several collaboration attempts before we could get living cells onto the biomaterial constructs we were making at the time. Today, it is more commonplace to find the tools to marry the Worlds of Cell Biology and Engineering in the same laboratory. Despite this, the total number of labs with such capabilities and expertise is still very small.
We believe that the steps required to fully Democratize Cellular Technologies will be to: