Brain Interactives In The Exhibit
INTERACTIVES IN THE EXHIBIT
There are no ropes protecting “BRAIN: The World Inside Your Head,” an innovative traveling exhibit made possible by Pfizer and premiered at the Arts and Industries Building at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C. Visitors are expected to touch, grab, manipulate, stand on, sniff, listen, hold, pull – even walk all over – the exhibit, which represents the latest research on the body’s center of thought and information processing.
Museum-goers will walk through an enlarged “brain,” complete with lightning shows that imitate the electrical activity of the central nervous system; shrink to the size of a neuron; and cruise through the network that controls all of human existence. The exciting interactives include:
Learn how a synapse makes the connection between neurons, the brain’s electrical relay system. Release a signal ball, which travels down a meandering axon tunnel. At the end of the tunnel is a gap between neurons, a synapse. The ball disappears and sets off a light show, imitating the action of an electrical signal traveling between neurons.
Back and Forth:
Use the three stations with a human figure platform to see how the brain controls reflexes, autonomic functions and balance. Place a hand on a simulated “hot” surface, and lights on the figure show how impulses travel from hand to brain to stimulate reflexive pulling away. Lights running from the heart to the bottom of the brain (brain stem) demonstrate how autonomic functions such as heartbeat and breathing work. Set the timer to see how long you can balance, and watch the figure light up to indicate corresponding brain activity.
Look through a microscope to view real neurons from different species.
Play a video game to see how sleep “recharges” the human battery. Stack blocks into full rows to “build” a complete sleep cycle. While humans sleep, their brains are doing memory, repair and growth work.
If you have an infant with you, you can hold the child up to a mirror to check for recognition response. Babies don’t recognize themselves in a mirror until they’re 18 to 24 months old. Take apart a brain model and put it back together. View a video illustrating neuron activity.
Lean on electrodes and perform tasks to see real-time EEG measurements and simulated imaging of corresponding brain activity.
See how the human brain has evolved to its current form. Crank open a model of a head to reveal the human cortex, the site of thinking, which helps to set humans apart from other animals. The model splits apart to show the limbic system, the site of memory and emotion, that corresponds to the mammalian brain of earlier times. It then shows the brain stem and cerebellum, sites of autonomic functions that correspond to the reptilian brain.
Discover how different senses produce different intensities of memory. See, hear and smell popcorn, grass and fire. Answer computer-generated questions about what kinds of memories they stimulate.
Experience “phantom limb syndrome,” the sensation of feeling in an amputated or nonexistent limb. Place hands on a shaft divided by a double-faced mirror. Grab onto a ring. The reflection of the hand in the mirror gives the illusion of the other hand. Another guest from the opposite side can tap one hand to simulate the phantom limb syndrome.
Be A Brain Surgeon:
Use a gamma knife simulator to excise a brain tumor. Pinpoint the throbbing red light (tumor) with a computer cursor, determine the coordinates and train laser beams on it. Operate the laser correctly and the light goes out – you’ve eliminated the tumor.
Boost Your Brain:
Spin the wheel to score points for activities that promote brain health – nutrition, exercise, etc.
Hills or Craters:
See how the brain interprets the world according to built-in biases. Shaded circles rotate to reveal the illusion of convex or concave circles, depending on the light source. The brain assumes that light comes from above, just like sunlight.
Look through a peephole and adjust a mirror to see an image of a face through one eye and a blank screen in the other. The brain will see only the face. However, if the visitor moves a hand in the blank field, the image of the face disappears, because the brain attends to movement first.
Source: Evergreen Exhibitions