Week 4

Rebecca says:

What happened this week?

I tried ‘painting’ with bacteria! It’s not straightforward because you can’t really see anything until it grows – just a slight sheen on the already shiny agar plate. I think the design has turned out pretty well for a first attempt in any case.

Painting with bacteria

Painting with bacteria

Other things that I have been up to this week include chasing up some model making ideas and sorting out gear for the time-lapse video that we ran today.

What did you learn?

It’s been quite a learning curve figuring out how to do the time-lapse video. It is the first time that either Siouxsie or I have attempted to do one, and we’re working with a less-than-easy subject matter!

What are you most inspired by/excited about?

I’m excited to see the results of the time-lapse video!

What’s next?

I hope that next week I can make some progress sorting out the models that we have in mind. We’ll also hopefully hear that results of the experiments that Siouxsie’s lab have been running, as this will influence the direction that we take from here.

Growing and glowing

Siouxsie says:

What happened this week?

This week I got the whole of my lab to help with making all the different kinds of media that we want to test the bacteria growing in, and pouring agar plates. Hopefully I’ll be able to report what media they liked in next week’s update.

Rebecca came along to my place and I showed her how to ‘draw’ a design onto an agar plate with the bacterial solution. She tried a couple of really beautiful designs almost remeniscent of coral, while I had a try tracing over a QR code for our website.

I just left the agar plates in my living room over night to see if they would grow at room temperature but as it’s August, and I live in an unheated, uninsulated villa, there was just the faintest trace of bacteria in the morning. I usually grow the bacteria in an incubator set at a balmy 28 degrees Celcius, so it’s not wonder they were a little slow off the mark!

We also decided to experiment with doing some time-lapse photography of the bacteria growing on the agar plates, so I’ve been reading camera manuals and figuring out how to run the programme on the computer to control the camera remotely.

One thing about time-lapse photography though is the need for a good power supply for the camera. Rebecca checked out equipment hire places to try to get an adapter to plug our camera into the mains, but to no avail, so we are reliant on changing and recharging the battery every eight hours… I also set up a makeshift ‘darkroom’ in my house to take the photos – now the challenge is keeping my two cats from interfering with it!

Time lapse progress

The makeshift darkroom – spot the tripod leg peeping out from under the cover!

What did you learn?

How to do time-lapse photography and remotely control my camera. Rebecca also sent me a link to learn how to batch process the photos in Photoshop which should save a lot of time.

What are you most inspired by/excited about?

I can’t wait to see how the movie comes out when we put all the photos together.

What’s next?

This week we will be editing the hundreds of photos we took and putting them together to make a short movie, hopefully of a glowing pattern emerging!


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