Hyperrhiz 01: Gallery
"Imagine a day when any living thing can be identified accurately and rapidly to the species level using a hand-held device the size of a cellular phone. A day when the biodiversity of an entire nation can be inventoried and monitored... thanks to an ambitious effort by a growing consortium of scientists, it is poised to become reality. The method that will enable this advance is 'DNA barcoding', an approach that employs a small fragment of DNA, a portion of a single gene, to provide a unique identifier - a 'DNA barcode' - for each living species on Earth."
-- Barcode of Life
One of the most important components of the 'Barcode of Life' initiative is the construction of a public reference library of species identifiers which could be used to assign unknown specimens to known species. This database will lead to the 'Life Barcoder', linking biological identification to developments in DNA sequencing, electronics and information science.
In order to construct the database, DNA barcode data must first be obtained from all known species. Perhaps it is no surprise then that barcodes - designed to tag physical objects with information in order to be processed by computers - are now being extended to humans in the form of 'bio-barcodes' that can be implanted or injected. Despite the ethical concerns about this surreptitious physical integration of the digital into the biological, a number of companies are rushing to patent human bar code systems in a market already estimated to be worth $100 billion.
Both these developments are at the root of Zinhar - a representation of a future handheld bioscanner that is broken and incomplete, but can be fixed by the user in order to complete its scan for life.