There’s the world we see, and then there’s the invisible world of everything we’re made of: our cells, our DNA, bacteria. We want to encourage you to think big – but also to think really, really small.
What do you, your best friend, and a fruit fly all have in common? You’re all made out of cells. Cells contain the proteins and acids that when they are all put together, make a fruit fly, your best friend, or you. Look below for a chance to see the tiny building blocks that make up your body and the rest of the world.
Just what is a robot?
A robot is a machine designed by humans to do specific tasks, like vacuum the floor, assemble a car or perform surgery. By that definition, WALL-E or R2D2 are one kind of robot, and a washing machine is another, and a self-driving car is third.
What is biotechnology?
Biotechnology is when scientists and engineers design technology using medicine and biology to help diagnose and treat health problems. Have you ever needed crutches or a wheelchair? Someone a long time ago had to imagine those things, then design and build them. Then other people came along and designed new versions. If you become a biotech engineer, you could design everything from implants and hearing aids to prosthetic arms and legs.
What do robots have to do with biotechnology?
Robots are already building cars and vacuuming floors. But did you know they also perform surgery?
Biotech tools like the da Vinci surgical robot and the Cyberknife help doctors perform major operations without having to make big cuts in the patient. One cut is made for a lighted camera so that the surgeon can see what she or he is doing. Another cut is made for the robotic tool. Become a surgeon and you can direct a robot to help a wounded soldier on the other side of the world, and soon, you may be able to stitch up an astronaut on the space station.
A team of researchers at MIT has designed a printable origami robot that measures about a centimeter from front to back. It folds itself up from a flat sheet of plastic when heated, and then can swim, climb an incline, traverse rough terrain, and carry a load twice its weight. The robot’s motions are controlled by external magnetic fields. Become a biotech engineer and you could build your own origami robot to heal people all over the world!
A fast-growing field
If technology creates tools to help humans, then biotechnology creates tools to empower humans in health, medicine, and wellness.
This fast-growing field includes the study of the human genome, the design of prosthetics, the improvement of sustainable agriculture, and the development of medicines and nanotechnology. Advances in the biological sciences have made such leaps in recent years that experts predict the 21st Century may be known as the age of biotechnology.
Amazing facts about medicine
What do you, your best friend, and a fruit fly all have in common? You’re all made out of cells. Cells contain the proteins and acids that when they are all put together, make a fruit fly, your best friend, or you. Using technology like a microscope, you can see the tiny building blocks that make up your body and the rest of the world.
Did you know that each cell in your body contains about six feet of DNA? How about this one: You have about 98% of the same genes as a chimpanzee, 92% as a mouse, 76% as a zebrafish, and 51% as a fruit fly. In fact, you and the E. coli virus have 18% of the same genes.
If you could stretch out all the blood vessels in a human body, they would be about 60,000 miles long. That’s enough to go around the world twice.
The strongest bone in your body is the femur (thighbone), and it’s hollow.
The width of your arm span stretched out is usually about the same length as your whole body.
In one day your heart beats about 115,200 times.
The videos below are in 360° Virtual Reality views. You can turn your device in any direction to see all parts of the video, or use your mouse to click through it. If you have a VR headset like Google Cardboard, click the Cardboard icon in the lower right hand corner of the video. The playlist will show you other videos, too!
Did you hear the joke about the germ?
Nevermind, I don't want to spread it around.
Why did the birdie go to the doctor?
To get a tweetment.
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TAME's traveling Trailblazers are one-of-a-kind science museums-on-wheels. Exciting, hands-on exhibits teach students about energy, space, weather, biotechnology, and aerodynamics while also introducing them to educational and career opportunities in STEM. Check out what else you can learn from taking a peek inside the Trailblazer's Biotechnology / Medicine area.
Average salaries calculated for Texas whenever possible. Data gathered in 2015 from the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Program of the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
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If you could do one thing to make life on Earth better, what would that thing be? Here's a Grand Challenge: according to some of the world's smartest people, this is a challenge that humans will face in the next 100 years. What would you do to help solve it?
Make better medicine. The more we understand about how diseases work, the better we can create medicines or procedures to cure these diseases. For example, nanotechnologists work on tiny robots who can work in tiny areas of the body instead of surgery.
For decades, some of engineering’s best minds have focused their thinking skills on how to create thinking machines — computers capable of emulating human intelligence. Researchers who can combine engineering and neuroscience could make great discoveries and inventions in health care, manufacturing, and communication.
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