Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The Tech opens nation's first interactive bioengineering exhibit

San Jose, Calif.,  — The Tech Museum of Innovation will empower visitors to play, tinker and design with the building blocks of life in BioDesign Studio, a new exhibit opening Friday, March 18. The exhibit will feature the nation’s first museum biotinkering space and an interactive exploration of how biology is technology.

“BioDesign Studio is an experience like no other,” said Tim Ritchie, president and CEO of The Tech. “This is a space where visitors of all ages can gain a deep understanding of their own power to use synthetic biology to solve big problems, like food security and climate change. We’ll be inspiring the next generation of biotech innovators.”

BioDesign Studio features five stations that break down heavy concepts, empowering visitors to play with DNA while nurturing their own ability to design and create with biology. “The people who need to solve the huge problems we face with global food and health 15 years down the road are the same people who will visit this exhibit right now,” said Romie Littrell, the exhibit’s developer and a leader in the DIY Bio movement. “It all begins with making them feel like biology is fun and interesting.”

Visitors will use lab equipment to create their own mix of colorful DNA; learn about genetic traits by “coding” the pattern of a bear’s fur; use computerized blocks to build new creatures and release them into a digital world to interact with other beings; explore how bioengineering could impact the future; and do hands­on activities in the BioTinkering Lab.

The BioTinkering Lab will, over time, play host to citizen science projects as well as drop­-in activities like creating mushroom bricks, in which visitors transform wood particles that would have been sent to landfills into sustainable building materials using mycelium.

“The world is really just starting to tap into the amazing potential of mycelium for manufacturing,” said Anja Scholze, biotech experience designer at The Tech. “We love giving our visitors a chance to explore something so fresh.”

Planned to last for 10 years, the exhibition, like biology itself, will evolve. The $5 million exhibit was made possible by several generous foundations including the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and the Franklin and Catherine Johnson Foundation.

For more information: thetech.org/biodesignstudio

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