Tinkering with future tools

Listen to the On Point episode on Tinkering and American Innovation. Another wonderful podcast by Tom Ashbrook and great fun for anybody who likes to tinker in their garage.

People working with hobby projects have tools at their disposal today that only a few years ago were way too expensive or only available in a professional setting. For example, you can buy or build your own CNC milling machine to create 3D objects on your desktop. Specialized shop tools are now cheap enough for home use the same way personal computing became a mainstream commodity.

When will this trend reach the biotechnology field? The cost of genome sequencing has come down rapidly. The first decoding performed on Greg Venter's DNA in 2007 cost $70 million. Today Complete Genomics can sequence the human genome for $5,000 in a professional lab with unique equipment. Will this technology be available for hobbyists in a few years?

It would be interesting to decode the genome of garden vegetables and create your own carrot variety or find a genetic flaw to cure a disease.