Thursday June 23, 2016

Bioengineering Comes Alive at Silicon Valley’s Tech Museum

Located in the heart of Silicon Valley, San Jose’s Tech Museum welcomes tinkerers in all things electronic. Its latest exhibit takes this idea a step further, inviting visitors to play with the underpinnings of life itself. The first bio-tinkering space in a U.S. museum, its BioDesign Studio lets visitors of all ages explore the intersection of engineering and biology by creating lifeforms from the building blocks of life. And it’s made vivid on a yawning 30-foot screen, powered by NVIDIA Quadro GPUs.

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Visitors are guided through the process of creating a set of biological instructions for a living thing, using tangible pieces that serve as stand-ins for genes and genetic parts. The end result resembles something you might see swimming under a microscope. The creature is then "released" into an immersive, simulated environment of an arc-shaped screen running off 11 projectors. Thousands of creatures are designed by museum visitors each week.