Frequently Asked Questions

General

What can I do with Bento Lab?

Check out what our users are doing on our Stories page. Bento Lab allows you to do copy DNA and do basic DNA analysis, for example to compare species or different versions of a gene like the PTC gene that relates to taste receptors. If you have never done DNA analysis before, get in touch as we are working on a Getting Started page.

Is the Bento Lab for professional use or for education?

Bento Lab is geared towards both professional and science education. Our beta testers come from all different backgrounds. Our users are working with Bento Lab for everything from molecular fieldwork, to science outreach, to creating cool art.

Can I do CRISPR with Bento Lab?

The CRISPR technique primarily relies on reagents (primers and plasmids) as well as equipment. The equipment required for CRISPR includes a thermocycler, which Bento Lab contains. You may also need an electroporator and an incubator.

Is Bento Lab open source?

Over the years, we have benefitted immensely from the generosity and innovativeness of the Open Source, Open Science, DIYbio and Biocommons community. We stand on the shoulders of giants such as Hackteria, the fantastic OpenPCR project, the iGEM community, and many, many others.

For us, accessibility is the priority. We want to document the project well, so we are giving ourselves a runway. We are planning to release the firmware source code, the electronic specifications and CAD files of the functional device (more suitable for readily-available materials!) into the public domain by the end of 2016.

Is Bento Lab safe to use?

Safety is a key priority. Bento Lab complies with safety regulations for laboratory hardware (EN61010-1, EN61010-2-010, EN61010-2-020). Before shipping, we’ll submit Bento Lab to our safety partner for review.

Bento Lab is designed for safety and ease-of-use, but it is not a toy. It comprises a high voltage electrophoresis unit, a PCR thermocycler that can reach temperatures of 120°C and a 20,000 G centrifuge. Safe use of the equipment requires that you follow the detailed instructions and warning-labels included with the kit.

The same is also true for the reagents and supplies in the starter kit. As long as you wear gloves, and follow the safety instructions provided, you are perfectly safe. Usually, the worst result is your experiment failing. However, our most important safety message is: if you are ever unsure, get in touch for help and we will happily give assistance.

Education

Do you provide samples for schools?

We are planning to establish a rental scheme to reduce the cost for schools. Please get in touch if you’re a teacher or a student interested in Bento Lab.

Will you supply pre-made experiment kits for teaching?

We are developing a number of a complete work packages for a classroom or a teaching lab. Get in touch at hello@bento.bio if you would like to know more!