BioDesign Studio is a new permanent exhibition which, for the first time, makes the burgeoning and complex fields of synthetic biology, bioengineering, biological design and DIY biology accessible to the public in an engaging and tangible way. To demystify these cutting-edge fields and technologies, visitors are able to explore, tinker and design with the building blocks of life…literally.
At the Living Colors Lab, visitors become wet lab scientists, and transform life by adding different pieces of DNA into live bacteria to change the colors of bacterial colonies.
Visitors design digital lifeforms at the Creature Creation Station. Using physical blocks that represent real genetic code, visitors program, test, and release their cells into an immersive digital environment, where it interacts with other creatures. If you design your cell successfully, it will thrive.
The Pattern Design exhibit is one of the first to visualize Turing Patterns, algorithms developed by the father of computing Alan Turing that can be used to mathematically model pattern formation in nature. By manipulating cellular behavior using software, visitors can create stripes, spots, and patterns that bring to life the power of emergent complexity in biology.
Biology has become a powerful and revolutionary technology, uniquely poised to transform and propel innovation in the near future. However, the skills, tools and implications of using living systems to engineer innovative solutions to human and global challenges are still largely foreign and inaccessible to the general public. The life sciences need new ways of effectively engaging diverse audiences in these complex and powerful fields. Biodesign Studio aims to bridge some of the gaps between the public and biotech.The Tech is the first museum to develop such an extensive, interactive, and open-ended permanent exhibition tackling these complex concepts. It aims to spark imagination and confidence with these burgeoning fields.
Living Colors Lab
Engineering organisms for useful purposes is becoming commonplace in industry and academia. New genetic and molecular biology tools make it relatively easy to edit the DNA code of living things, such as bacteria. As biotech steadily becomes a more powerful tool in the tech industry and healthcare, understanding and experiencing bioengineering is essential. The goal of Living Colors Lab is to introduce visitors to the fundamental tools of a biology and let them do simple bioengineering first-hand. With the help of an Augmented Reality enhanced workbench, visitors use DNA to engineer colorful bacteria and help discover new living colors. Color data is shared in a collaborative visualization to highlight group discoveries and add meaning and context.
Emergence, or the idea that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, is fundamental to life. Many biological systems, from the molecular to organismal, are compelling examples of its power. The goal of Pattern Design is to introduce visitors to this fundamental biological concept through the familiar lens of one such emergent system: animal coat patterns. Visitors make small changes to the biological parameters of individual skin cells and how they communicate with each other. Using only these simple cellular tweaks, they explore for settings that give rise to stable emergent patterns at the organism level.
Creature Creation Station
Synthetic biology is a broad, complex field of study that breaks down biological systems into fundamental parts that can be snapped together like Legos to build life with new properties and outputs. Using these approaches, organisms are being engineered for many useful purposes across academia, industry, medicine and more. The goal of Creature Creation Station is to give visitors a design challenge based introduction to the fundamentals of synthetic biology. Visitors mix and match a kit of tangible building blocks with specific functions (that represent real-world DNA parts) to program and explore how biological circuits are constructed. Final creature designs live and interact in the immersive simulation space.