Biohacking in Cameroon: around low-cost biohacking equipment


My names is Thomas, I am from Cameroon. I am very excited to be part of this event, since I am trying to promote Biohacking in french speaking african countries and Haiti. This is the event that I will organize in May.

During the Bioffabing, I want to share with you, learn from you in order to make first, the biohacking event in Cameroon very interresting. In that optic, if we can talk about:

  • Run a practical biohacking worskshop in Africa. we can perfom some experiment that I will reproduce in Yaoundé.

Second, for at mid-term I want to set up a biohackerspace devoted to produce low cost lab material to help rural hospital where even an optical microscope does not exist. What can we do? I need your Ideas and thougts.

@dusjagr I don’t know if it is still possible to transform my question in an unconference on African purpose where every person can share their experience and help me frame the movement in my context

PS: I don’t have any stuff to run the workshop in Yaoundé. If you have some stuff to give don’t hesitate. I will bring it back to Cameroon.

PS: I don’t have any material, so if you have some stuff that you want to give, don,t hesitate. I will bring it in cameroon

Bring 2 of yours prototyps/Kits/stuffs and donate one

hi @thomasmboa,
of course you can propose a dedicated session around low-cost biohacking equipment.
this will be a great workgroup for all of us to share/learn and discuss!

i am switching this topic to the “unconference” category to start collecting ideas and interests.



wow, great event!! lets fly to Cameroon!! :slight_smile:
I‘m definitely interested in developing workshop concepts for Biohacking in the medical field!!


This is something I’m definitely interested in (although know very little about!).

@thomasmboa are you familiar with Manu Prakash’s work? Maybe you could get some of these donated for the conference and then hand them out for people to take home and work with.

the foldscope, low-cost origami microscope –

the paperfuge, similar low-cost simple design as a lab centrifuge –


@jbsteinhardt thank a lot for this link, I was not familiar with Prakash’s work. It is so interesting and it is this kind of experiment that I want to perform in Cameroon.

Since you have mentionned it, can you help me do to get some kits of foldscope and paperfuge during our meeting in Geneva?

Please if you have others idea to help me perform the seminar in Cameroon, don’t hesitate…


Thank a lot @julian, it means that we will design our workshop in term of activities that we can perform if they are relevant for our context.


I don’t know him personally but I could see if I have any connections! I love his work.


I’m also a big fan of Prakash’s work – only a bit overhyped.

If we can get a similarly powerful lens, (they claim 140x magnification and 2 micron resolution) we could easily design our own little low-cost microscope. If anyone knows where to get them (really cheap!) it would be great to have some to play around.

these are the specifications: “2.38mm borosilicate glass“


Thank @julian

For all those who are based in Switzerland can you find and bring for us, lens with these specification: “2.38mm borosilicate glass“. we will replicate the foldoscope.

@sabgaby @Bruno @jbsteinhardt @dusjagr @vlorenzolana


hey @thomasmboa - I have some different sized glass beads (the kind you use in the lab for plating bacteria, homogenising stuff etc) that we could prototype with - I’m not sure exactly the diameters, but they look like around 1mm, around 2.5-3mm, and around 5mm. The smaller the bead, the higher the magnification. I have some really tiny ones around 0.5mm, though I think that’s probably too small to be useful. There is a project from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory that includes files for 3d printing a little clip that holds the bead in front of a smartphone lens:
It works fairly well (I have one I printed earlier I can bring)… The only problem is the beads tend to get a bit scratched kicking around in their containers, so combined with the tricky optics you get from a spherical lens, it’s not so super easy to use.

I also still have an actual foldscope (not yet assembled) from their 10 000 signup campaign a few years ago that I can bring for the full foldscope experience - compare and contrast :wink:


ahja… single lens microscopy, re-packached in cardboard and hyped by big media departments of elite universities, to pretend to save the world (where did this millions of $$$ went, which the project raised? flights to TED talks?)

it’s been about 400 years that we make borosilicate glassbeads to look at the microcosmos…
we can always look up how good old leeuwenhoek did it, but he was also a businessman and never shared his method of fabrication to get a head-start for his “scientific” publications.

we made our own extremely bad quality lenses from trashed glasspieces we found on a beach.


(yes, i’ll bring some microscopes… it’s all i ever had)


I am very satisfy after this first day in the Biofabbing. With the helps of many geeks present today, we have designed the logo for the biohacking movement in Cameroon. Then, we have succeed to run the workshop on the waterscope. Thank a lot to @vlorenzolana @hil2oo @oliverkeller for their patience… Don’t nmiss to visit the Cameroon biohacking worstation tomorrow…and propose activities.


@thomasmboa - @raronoff has tried the fold-o-scope at hackuarium - we don’t have the good beads though -

I printed the one in Pacific NW National Labs -
I think @Bruno @sabgaby has done a workshop at bioscope - I recall the bioscope solution was a more elegant one - I don’t see it documented @dusjagr

@lu_cyP @raronoff - the lens in front of a laser pointer or a cheap laser pen (documented above) - is one source of lens


It might be worthwhile to write the foldscope people or Manu Prakash directly and ask if they could donate some.

The plus of working with billion-dollar universities is that they over-flow with capital and resources! A few boxes of foldoscopes and paperfuges sent to Cameroon is like a drop in the ocean for them.


@thomasmboa I don’t know if you met people from TReND Africa, but they are neuroscientists and doing openhardware in Africa


Thank you @sachiko …I am in touch with André Maia Chagas who is Co-founder of Trend Africa. Now, we are working on the Afrobiohacking Tour…