This Japanese startup wants to open source its DNA amplifier


This is part of our coverage of the Infinity Ventures Summit Kyoto 2013

At Infinity Ventures Summit Kyoto, we saw a few new startups pitching at the Launchpad event. One of the most notable was the very last to come on stage, as Shingo Hisakawa, the founder of hardware startup Tori Ningen [1], pitched a DNA amplifier device. This amplification step is a sort of prerequisite, I understand, for many biological experiments.

Shingo posited the problem that DNA sampler devices typically cost $4000 to $10000. But his company wants to reduce that by 1/10, and then offer it open source. The details of how the device actually works were relatively complex (and I won’t venture to summarize it based on a simultaneous translation). But the results of a test sample, after they are processed, can be viewed in a Chrome browser, so it doesn’t require any special software. The hardware itself can be viewed below, and at the end of the video above.

In my view, this was the most passionate pitch, the founder proclaiming that ’the internet is part of our own DNA, and we should use it to leave a legacy behind.

They have already has started selling domestically here in Japan, but they want to bring it overseas as well. In fact, they are already selling in Malaysia, and hope to open a factory in China.

Update: I previously referred to the device as a DNA sampler, which is incorrect.

DNA amplifer

  1. He used to make aircraft, hence the name ‘Tori Ningen’, or ‘bird person’. He says the company is comprised of himself, his wife, and his cat.  ↩