Biota Beats

Can we design a more Intuitive way
to learn about the microbiome?


Roles:  concept design, industrial design of microbial LP, technical writer, technical consultant on the plating of microbes on LP.

Collaborators: This project was completed as a member of the EMW Street Bio Team

Awards: Biota Beats was awarded a Bronze medal at the International Genetically Engineered Machines Competition (iGEM) in the Community Lab category in 2016.

Gizmodo: Scientists Made Music From the Human Microbiome, and It’s Seriously Cool
Washington Post: Microorganisms on your scalp, ears and elbows can be turned into music
Daily Free Press: Street Bio develops Biota Beats, plays music from bacterial growth


Biota Beats is a Microbial Record Player designed to convert the microbes of your body into sound.  Biota Beats was awarded a Bronze medal at the IGEM Competition in 2016.

 This was collaborative project with the EMW Street Bio iGem team.  We won a Bronze medal in the community lab category, and the full site for our competition entry can be found here:


Our team built a record player called Biota Beats that can hold a petri dish plated with cultures from the human microbiome.

Currently, a still image is taken of the colonies and translated into sound by a program coded by one of our teammates, but the ultimate vision for Biota Beats is real-time tracking of colonies and conversion of a video into sound.  With Biota Beats, you’ll be able to listen to music from different cultures!



The combination of arts and science captures our imaginations with compelling narratives of initiative and innovation.

People go beyond traditional ways to work in whatever medium best fits their skills and messages. By rooting stories in authenticity, people can spark emotion and action, transmit values and information, foster collaboration, and invent the future.

Lifeforms inhabiting the surface of our bodies need a form of communication for people to understand the information those lifeforms contained. What if we can hear the physical attributes of a microbiota?


Music, as a universal language, suggests a certain wholeness. Sonification of the microbiome is an attempt to engage the public and provide a better understanding of the random nature of gene expression, cellular changes, and bacterial evolutions. Such an undertaking can bring personal understanding to what is going on with the surface of our bodies.