Scientific endeavors like Cancer Research UK's CellSlider in which laypeople click through images to spot and count cancer cells or the Wellcome Trust Center for Neuroimaging's Great Brain Experiment, an app that "gamifies" research, allow the public to participate in science, the New Scientist notes. But some endeavors take it a bit further, in to the hands of amateurs themselves, it adds.
Biohackers, the New Scientist says, are the largest subset of DIY citizen scientists. They are using DNA barcoding to sniff out sushi that doesn't live up to its label and are splicing bioluminescent genes to make glow-in-the-dark bacteria or plants.
Dale Dougherty, the founder of Make magazine, tells New Scientist that scientists and amateurs can learn from one another. "By re-injecting an enthusiasm for tinkering, the balance could shift away from theory and back towards experimentation," New Scientist adds. "This, he says, could bring with it a new kind of innovation and excitement that can only boost both science and the world's economies."