They have a project which combines haptics and nanotechnology at the University of Florida’s Digital Worlds Institute, HAP/NAN. According to Kathryn Varn’s Oct. 12, 2012 article for the Independent Florida Alligator,
Feeling the moon’s gravitational pull or bonds between water molecules is now within grasp — literally.
By combining haptics and nanotechnology, the Digital Worlds Institute in collaboration with Curtis Taylor, a UF professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering and a nanotechnology expert, has made it possible for people to feel these reactions.
Patrick Terry, a 20-year-old materials science and engineering junior, said he thinks the technology has potential to help students make sense of ideas he learned from textbooks.
“Trying to find a new way to get people to understand things is always great,” Terry said. “I can imagine that it definitely has potential to be a helpful medium to learn those concepts.”
Oliverio [James Oliverio, director of the Digital Worlds Institute] said the project will initially be implemented in local schools, but because the National Science Foundation funded the prototype development, HAPNAN should eventually make a national impact.
The project was debuted at a Harn Museum ‘Art in Engineering’ event on Oct. 11, 2012. There’s more about HAP/NAN on its Digital Worlds Institute project page,
HapNan is an innovative and exciting educational tool geared toward middle school students. It is a collaborative effort between the University of Florida (UF) Digital Worlds Institute and UF professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and Nanotechnology expert, Dr. Curtis Taylor. HapNan involves the merging of nanotechnology with haptics. The HapNan project incorporates the use of a haptic mouse and virtual reality computer program to create an interactive learning environment that has the potential to revolutionize the way that science is being taught within a classroom setting. Students who are able to work with the HapNan technology will be able to explore many abstract scientific concepts in a whole new way, through sight and touch. The Haptic mouse will allow students to actually feel surface textures of the objects they are seeing on the computer screen. Additionally, the new low-cost haptic mouse allows users to actually feel invisible forces (such as gravity, attraction, repulsion and resistance) thus making these concepts tangible.
Further north in the US, the Children’s Museum of Science and Technology in New York State has launched a Nano exhibit. From the Oct. 12, 2012 news item on Nanowerk,
Further reinforcing Governor Andrew Cuomo’s commitment to providing educational and career opportunities to young people in support of New York’s globally recognized nanotechnology industry, the Children’s Museum of Science and Technology (CMOST) and the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE) of the University at Albany today announced a partnership to bring the national Nano exhibit to the Capital Region, giving children a unique opportunity to learn science, technology, engineering and math-related (STEM) principles through a fun and interactive experience.
“CMOST is thrilled to feature the nationally recognized Nano exhibit as a centerpiece of our Grand Re-Opening, and grateful to the world-class College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering for their partnership in making this exhibit a reality on behalf of children who will surely benefit by being introduced to nanotechnology in an interactive, enjoyable way,” said Paul Fahey, CMOST Board Chairperson. “We have seen firsthand the power of nanotechnology education and research, led by the NanoCollege, to move our economy forward and provide opportunities across the state. Now, we are pleased to introduce children to the science that is playing a critical role in their lives.”
According to the Oct. 11, 2012 news release (which originated the news item) from the College of Nanoscale Science & Engineering (CNSE) at the University of Albany,
The fully interactive Nano exhibit at CMOST, which was created by the Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network (NISE Network) with support from the National Science Foundation (NSF) … [emphasis mine]
The mention of NISENet brings me to their Oct. 2012 issue of The Nano Bite and these bits excerpted from it,
- 2013 Mini-Grants – applications due November 4: The NISE Network is making available a limited number of small, one-time awards to support initiatives by NISE Net partners to engage their local audiences in nanoscale science, engineering, and technology topics. Requests can be made for an award up to $3,000 dollars to fund a small project or be put towards a larger endeavor. Applications are due November 4, 2012. For more on how to apply, sample projects, and eligibility requirements, click here. A list of previously funded mini-grant projects is also available at: www.nisenet.org/community/mini-grants.
- NanoDays 2013 – applications due December 1: NanoDays will be held March 30-April 7, 2013. Applications for physical kits are now available online. To learn more about how to apply and eligibility, please visit: http://www.nisenet.org/blog/nanodays/nanodays_2013_physical_kit_applications_-_due_december_1_2012.
- NISE Net at ASTC 2012, Columbus, Ohio October 13-16: For those of you or your colleagues attending the Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC) annual conference, the NISE Network will have many activities and professional development opportunities. For details click here. NISE Net events include:
- Happy Hour – we invite NISE Network partners to gather together informally: Friday, Ocober 12, 5:00 – 7:00 pm, Bartley’s Brewing Company, 467 North High Street.
- Partner Breakfast – the NISE Net will be hosting a breakfast for NISE Network partners to hear about our plans for the coming year, learn about new educational products and opportunities to get involved, and talk with other NISE Net partners from across the country: Monday, Octover 15, 7:30 - 8:45 am, Hyatt Regency Columbus, Franklin D Room.
National Chemistry Week – October 21-27: The theme this year is “Nanotechnology: The Smallest BIG Idea in Science.” This year the NISE Network has teamed up with the American Chemical Society (ACS) to provide online outreach resources for the event. We encourage you to visit http://www.nisenet.org/national-chemistry-week to find out how you can get involved and get links to chemistry activities from past NanoDays kits and the online catalog. You can also find a link to ACS’s website listing events and chemistry collaborators nationwide including some that may be located near you.
There’s also the monthly nano haiku,
Sharing more leads to
Tighter bonds – even in the
World of molecules
The above haiku was drawn from the first sentence of the linked article First Images of Chemical Bond Differences Captured by Lisa Grossman of New Scientist.
For anyone who wants to read the full October 2012 Nano Bite, you can find it here.