BIOCREA is an experimentation, research and prototyping project on topics related to biology and biotechnology, art and design. Founded in 2018 in Medialab Prado, it started an "open space for creative biology", proposing lines of work (ecology, genetics, biomaterials, biosensors, cybernetics, alternative energies, education, food, among others) that can be carried out in a public laboratory under the philosophy of DIYbio (do it yourself biology), citizen science, biohacking and bioart.

A creation space is proposed where science, engineering and art can carry out cross-research, drawing up an open investigation that stimulates the development and application of scientific knowledge and artistic practices with new media, materials and methods. Under a collaborative environment, open, recursive and creative experimentations are carried out that involve the prototyping of projects, the development of proposals, the use of open tools and digital manufacturing, as well as creative support for related ideas and projects. It is linked to the experimentation, implementation, prototyping and documentation of different ways of conceiving "the laboratory" and the possible creative uses that can be given to this space, promoting the creation of alternative, public, portable or itinerant laboratory spaces.

Biocrea at Medialab Prado 


This project stems from the need to create spaces for creation on topics related to biology, art and technology, from transdisciplinary practices where citizens can create and participate in prototyping projects and the use of biotechnologies. From November 2018 to January 2019, a program of activities was carried out at Medialab Prado, a citizen laboratory in the city of Madrid, under the coordination of Hamilton Mestizo and the supervision of Chema Blanco, director of the Citizen Science Laboratory. The main purpose was to set up a permanent biology laboratory in the Medialab Prado facilities (biolab/wetlab), while executing a program of activities aimed at creating a community of users of various kinds who could make use of this space from the development of research and related projects.

During this period of time, the meeting of a diverse group of participants was achieved, involving high school and university students and teachers, researchers, specialists, amateurs, as well as institutions and communities with interests in topics related to biology and biotechnology. Under a collaborative and transdisciplinary environment, open research was carried out where the participants came into contact with different contexts of science and traditional education in dialogue with manifestations of garage science, DIYbio, bioart and citizen science. As the laboratory was built and the program was implemented, transversal research was generated between the projects, which stimulated the development and application of scientific and technical knowledge in accordance with the needs raised by the research groups and the laboratory space. Under a collaborative environment, "open", recursive and creative research was carried out involving the prototyping of projects, development of proposals and support of ideas. It was a general interest of the group to generate technologies, protocols and research whose replica can be done freely and in different contexts, from free culture and DIY-DIWO (do it yourself, do it with others).


Initial presentation of the Biocrea program at Medialab Prado. A year in a day, December 2018.



MICROmacro Microscopic Examination Laboratory

noviembre 2019

In collaboration with Feli Cabrera López, an artist invited to the program during the month of November, this activity was carried out at Medialab Prado, where a call was made for collaborators to experiment with the collection and cultures of microorganisms, their observation through digital microscopes, its projection in various formats and mixing through software.

We cultivate microorganisms to observe changes in biological matter in a playful way with DIY tools and laboratory procedures that can be easily replicated with local materials and at home. The observations were interpreted as a plastic and scientific resource that led us to other visions of the environment through a transdisciplinary aesthetic experience, exploring expressive/sensory forms of visualization from new media and microbiology.

Residency of Rae Yuping

junio-julio 2019

In collaboration with the artistic residence program of the National Museum of Fine Arts in Taiwan and Medialab Prado, Rae Yunping's project was chosen to be carried out in collaboration with Biocrea. In the project, called: “The longing grew as this body waxed, the longing grows as this body wanes", Rae Yuping Hsu proposed a collaborative creation of various artistic pieces designed to interact with the five senses: they can be touched, seen, heard, smelled or tasted. The pieces were created with Kombucha, a fermented probiotic tea beverage, used for the cultivation of SCOBYs (symbiotic colonies of bacteria and yeast). After a fermentation process of several days, the Kombucha solidifies a material similar to leather (cellulose). As part of the artistic process, kombucha inflatables and hybrid pieces were built with electronics and robotics. The project was open to the collaboration of people interested in participating and exploring the different possibilities offered by this biomaterial and generating a collaborative creation and design project.

«This project arises from the desire to feel and understand the little invisible creatures that live in us, inside and around us. We are holobionts: we cannot be human without our microbial communities. They shape us in many ways, including our health, appearance, emotions, and even desires. They are an integral part of our being, and yet how much do we really know about them? We know them better as resources to be exploited, as elements necessary for scientific research, since from them we continuously extract data and products for human benefit. With the rapid growth of biotechnology, it's easy to forget that we've had a mutually beneficial relationship with them for thousands of years through food production. Our ancestors fermented alcohol, made bread, yoghurt, pickled vegetables, etc., creating a deep and fruitful relationship with yeasts and bacteria that has been passed down through generations.” Rae Yuping


Digital Fabrication of Scientific Instrumentation 


These models were developed as part of the Biocrea activities program and the Medialab Prado fablab. A group of high school students were invited to experiment with the ideation, design and prototyping of scientific instrumentation that could be easily manufactured with fablab tools and easily accessible and/or recycled materials. Two tools of a biology laboratory were chosen: the microscope and the microorganism incubator.   


Cardboard Microscopes


This "do it yourself" microscope is an improved replica of a model published on by Yochinok and from which another cardboard version was developed in Medellin Colombia by the "biolab : creation schools" group at the exploratory in 2017 This last model was taken up and we added some modifications. The objective is to offer an essential tool to develop activities with biology. Consequently, several creation workshops and laboratories were held during the year based on the assembly of this model, allowing the observation of the microscopic environment through mobile phones: using lenses that can be added to the camera and amplify an objective several times.

Assembling cardboard microscopes with students from the Gómez Moreno school. Fablab Medialab Prado. January 2019 


Assembly workshop. Autumn leaves. Royal Botanical Garden of Madrid. November 2019

Day of the fascination for plants: flowers and pollinators. Royal Botanical Garden of Madrid. May 19, 2019.

WIFI Microscopes     


Based on the DIY microscope model disclosed by the hackteria biohacking network, we are working on a high-definition and WIFI version of the microscope to use through mobile and computer applications. For three months we were working in the Medialab Prado fablab on the structural design in laser cut and the intervention to the camera to make it a microscope (lens inversion).

Hacking a webcam (inversion of the lens), Assembly of the structure and test with a coin


Incubox. A DIY Microorganism incubator


Another recognized and essential instrument in biology and microbiology laboratories is the incubator. Basically what it does is maintain the conditions of a controlled environment, used for the growth of microorganisms which need constant conditions to grow, such as temperature and humidity, pH or CO2, etc. Incubox arises from a need raised by college students, who, not having an incubator in a school, decide to investigate how to make one at low cost using open software and hardware and the tools of a fablab, such as 3d printing, laser cutting , electronics and computing. Each week a little progress was made on the prototype, going through the stages of ideation, design, experimentation, modeling and prototyping. The initial concept was to implement an electronic control circuit that makes it easy to maintain hot air within a range of temperature and humidity inside a box. In our case, we decided to make a single electronic model that could be used at various scales, which, by replacing the size and capacity of the materials, decreases or increases its capacity and area of ​​interaction. For the developed model, it was decided to work with small and low consumption materials, developing a small incubator with a capacity of 30 cubic centimeters, enough to heat the air of a thermal bag and maintain a constant heat, which can be program from the maximum plus 2º centigrade of the room temperature up to 50º centigrade.



This creative laboratory is part of the BRITEC Research Project (Bringing Research Into The Classroom) funded by the European Union in the Erasmus+ KA2 Program (2018-2021). This project is based on the participation of students in research activities to increase the knowledge of the scientific community through citizen science. The scientific activity, which is being implemented in several educational centers in the Community of Madrid, consists of studying the populations of sandflies that transmit leishmaniasis using a method traditionally used for their capture, light traps.

Through the “flebocollect” working group at BioCrea, we were working collaboratively from May to November on the development of a DIY trap model. Traps were built and tested using readily available recycled materials, and their effectiveness was proven in comparison with a commercial trap. The fact that costs are reduced in the construction of traps facilitates their use and replication in the public as a research node in the study of human leishmaniasis and its spread through a certain type of sandfly, which can solve and prevent a Public Health problem.