In the Nanomedicine exhibition, four individual exhibit components highlight nanotechnology’s vast potential for diagnosing and treating disease, as well as its ability to help damaged tissue regrow. Test for thousands of diseases with a single nano-based chip, target tumor cells for treatment with nanoparticles in a tabletop game, and regrow severed nerve endings on nanoscale scaffolding. These exhibits were developed by the NISE Network; copies are located at the Museum of Science in Boston, OMSI in Oregon, and the Arkansas Discovery Network.
This exhibit demonstrates how materials at the nanoscale can have unexpected properties. The tabletop interactive, Quantum Dots, focuses on the property of color and how a material’s color may change when brought down to the nanoscale. Visitors alter the size of a magnified quantum dot and watch the light that it emits shift from red to blue as it shrinks to a fraction of a nanometer. The copy panel and side monitors explain how unexpected properties are being used in real-world applications of quantum dots and nanoparticles, from medical imaging to consumer goods.
Three Drops is a full body immersive simulation that allows visitors to interact with water at three size scales using their shadows. At each scale, different physical forces can be observed. At the macro (human) scale, where gravity is the noticeable force, visitors are showered with water drops from a simulated shower. At the microscale--one thousand times smaller--where surface tension becomes more apparent, visitors play with a beach-ball sized water drop.
Creating Nanomaterials is an interactive, multimedia component of the Intro to Nanotechnology exhibit package that demonstrates how scientists are using the ability of molecules to self-assemble to create consumer goods with surprising properties. Visitors place and observe “molecules” on an air hockey table. When the air hockey table is activated, the “molecules” hover and assemble into patterns all by themselves—just like molecules in nanomaterials.
This exhibit introduces new ways of diagnosing and monitoring disease by using nanomaterials. Visitors conduct a lab test by select one of three sick patients and using a real pipette to add the patient’s blood sample to a glass slide (the GreeneChip). An on-screen animation explains what happens at the nanoscale, and the visitor is presented with a diagnosis.
Bump and Roll is an interactive exhibit that demonstrates nanomaterial properties using an everyday object: a leaf of cabbage. The nanoscale structures on a cabbage leaf cause water to bead up and slide off its surface. Scientists are replicating these “superhydrophobic” properties with nanotechnology. Drip water onto a cabbage leaf, and change the angle of the surface to see how the droplets behave. Find out about the super-small bumps that make this surprising behavior possible.