Basement Exhibits

14.1T Inova Microimaging Scanner—Room B660

With a visit to the 14.1T (141000 Gauss) Inova 600 microimaging system, visitors will see a super-high magnetic field MRI scanner that is one of only seven such magnets in operation in the world. Part of the Biomedical Imaging Center, the instrument is capable of performing magnetic resonance imaging and local microspectroscopic measurements with an imaging resolution up to 10 microns. Visitors will see insights into a variety of live subjects ranging from ants, caterpillars, stickleback fish, and frogs to mice brain microstructure.

Microscopy Suite—B604, B606B, B606L

Part of the Imaging Technology Group, Microscopy Suite staff members will demonstrate the BioMicroCT (3D x-ray microscope), the fluorescence microscope (various samples labeled with multiple fluorophores), and the new ESEM (environmental scanning electron microscope), which is the home base for Bugscope 2.0. Other instruments will be available as time permits.

Seeing is Believing: Looking Inside the Body Using Positrons, Gamma Radiation, and X-Rays—Room B668

Visit the NSF-funded, state-of-the-art Molecular Imaging Laboratory (MIL) that is equipped with a PET/SPECT/CT scanner that uses positrons, gamma radiation, and x-rays to look inside the body. Investigators from the Experimental Molecular Imaging Laboratory (EMIL) will demonstrate the operating principles and applications of nuclear, laser doppler, and thermal imaging for testing new therapeutic interventions in cardiovascular complications, detecting cancer, probing its microenvironment, and studying effects of nutrition on brain perfusion.

Visualizing Science: The Vis Lab—B650G

See how scientists visualize their research in high-definition at Beckman’s Visualization Laboratory by utilizing high-resolution photography, macro lenses, high-speed video, 3D scanning, and more.

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Atrium & First Floor Exhibits

Autonomous Materials for Next-Generation Systems—Atrium & Room 3712

The Autonomous Materials Systems (AMS) Lab will provide an overview of its research, as well as several demonstrations. Find us in the Atrium and stop by our third-floor labs. (See third-floor listing for full description.)

Batteries for the Future!

Learn more about the science behind powering modern life, from your electronics to your home. We will showcase batteries made from household items and those at the cutting edge of science.

Bioinspired Sensors for Image-Guided Surgery

We will demonstrate our wearable goggle platform that is used in surgical settings for cancer detection. The user will be able to wear our goggles and “see” near-infrared fluorescence from targeted dyes while also seeing the real world.

Brain Games With the Rhodes Lab

The Rhodes Lab is ready to engage people in neuroscience research. You will get to see real mouse and fish brains, get a sense of the size of brains of different animals, and learn the different parts of specialized brain cells called neurons.

Cancer Scholars Program

The Cancer Scholars Program (CSP) motivates learning through the grand challenge of cancer. The CSP is designed to allow a small number of highly qualified students an opportunity to integrate education with cancer research.

Can You Hear This?

Come learn about hearing loss and tinnitus and the ongoing research to understand both and their relationship to cognition.

Carle Neuroscience Research

Carle Neuroscience Institute Research’s mission is to create a better understanding of structure and function of neurological systems utilizing new and traditional tools in novel ways. We aim to demonstrate improved clinical outcomes for patients through research efforts that focus on the development of predictive analytics, novel diagnostics, and cost/comparative effectiveness. Carle Neuroscience Institute specializes in research on epilepsy, traumatic brain injury, neurovascular and neuromuscular disorders, and dementia and aging. Much of the research is conducted in collaboration with researchers at the University of Illinois, specifically within the Beckman Institute.

Control and Network Connectivity Team

We investigate cognitive control, network connectivity, and the relation of the two in the human brain. We are most interested in networks involved in cognitive control functions such as alertness and attention.

De-Liver Biology

We will explain the functions of the liver through interactive games.

Dissecting Neural Circuits in Virtual Reality

Research aimed at dissecting the inner mechanisms of sensory information processing in the mammalian neocortex will be featured. Neural coding in the barrel cortex of head-fixed mice is studied while the animal is actively navigating in virtual reality environment. Electrophysiology with massively parallel multi-electrode arrays and local optogenetics stimulation are used to correlate animal choices with brain activity to get insights on mechanisms of cortical processing.

Educational Video Games With Embodied Interactions and Augmented Reality

We will demonstrate a video game platform with gesture-controlled interfaces and augmented reality visualizations using HoloLens.

The Future of Prosthetics—Neural Control, 3D Printing, and Sensory Feedback

Come see our advanced neurally controlled prosthetic hand with touch feedback in action.

How Computer Vision Can Assist Other Fields of Research

Come and see how interdisciplinary collaboration in our lab leads to scientific research for developing new technologies to solve real-world problems. Find out how artificial neural networks learn to understand images to enable civil engineers to keep our trains safe, see how image analysis and wireless sensor information can assist agriculture researchers to help small farmers increase the world food supply, and a host of other innovations from the Computer Vision and Robotics Laboratory.

How We Read: Change and Stability Through the Adult Lifespan—Room 1532

Contrary to how it appears when we watch someone else doing it, reading is a very dynamic mental process. One way in which this is studied is by measuring how the eyes move during reading. Our eyes do not glide smoothly across the page, but “jump” across words. We will show you this with an eye-tracker, and talk about how this methodology is used to explore the cognitive processes that underpin effective reading throughout the adult lifespan.

How You Will Remember This Exhibit: Memory and the Brain

How important is memory to your everyday experience? What would life be like if you lost your ability to remember? The Memory Learning Lab studies the nature of human memory and the organization of memory in the human brain both among healthy individuals as well as various patient groups with memory challenges. Stop by, play some memory games, and learn more about how you remember.

Image-Guided Drug Delivery Integrating Multiscale Imaging and Personalized Nanomedicine (‘Omics’ Approach)

Our display shows multidisciplinary approaches covering principles of synthetic chemistry, molecular biology, engineering, and medicine.

Infrared Imaging and 3D Printing

A demonstration of infrared imaging will be presented using an infrared-sensitive camera and a projector to show the thermal radiation of participants in real time. Additionally, examples of 3D printed items will be on display.

Interactive Technology Support for Patient Comprehension of Health Information and Medication Self-Management

The most general goal of our research is to improve self-care (such as taking medications) and health outcomes among older adults. These interdisciplinary projects leverage expertise in computer science, medicine, human factors, and education to improve provider-patient collaboration related to self-care. One of our research projects is focused on helping patients understand and use health information presented through a “patient portal” (electronic health record).

Interdisciplinary Lab for Social Development

Young children are constantly learning about the world around them. Children’s first and closest partners in social and emotional learning are parents. Taking an interdisciplinary approach that brings together physiological, neural, and behavioral levels of analysis, we investigate how children learn to manage everyday challenges during interactions with parents. Play fun puzzle and computer games, win prizes, and learn more about how children’s physiological and behavioral responses to stress develop.

Interferometric Microscopy

We will stream a live video feed from one of our microscopes to show how phase-shifting interferometry improves contrast in live cell imaging.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging—Room 1215G

Part of the Biomedical Imaging Center, we will give demonstration of our mock MRI machine (no magnets) and explain how it contributes to research even though it never takes an image. Come interact with some live imaging games, make a colorful necklace or keychain with sand art, or get a temporary tattoo.

Musculoskeletal Orchestra

Like an orchestra, the musculoskeletal system, is an intricate series of connected pieces that work together to create something amazing. Learn about how our muscles, bones, and ligaments work together to let us walk, run, and jump.

National Society of Black Engineers

Neural Mechanisms Underlying Emotion-Cognition Interactions

Emotion can impact cognition by exerting both enhancing effects (e.g., better memory for emotional events) and impairing effects (e.g., increased emotional distractibility). Emotion processing, however, also is susceptible to cognitive influences, typically exerted as cognitive control of emotion or emotion regulation. Investigation of the mechanisms underlying these phenomena is critical for understanding mood and anxiety disorders that are associated with intrusive recollection of memories for distressing events and increased emotional distractibility and are characterized by emotion dysregulation.

Neurochemistry Odyssey—Atrium & Rooms 2542, 2620, & 2638

Come on a treasure hunt to discover the state-of-the-art instruments used by the Sweedler Lab to uncover the chemistry of the nervous system. (See second-floor listing for full description.)

Now You Scene It, Now You Don’t

Humans are very fast at processing scenes. For instance, they can detect almost instantly if a landscape is shown in a photograph. It takes a bit longer, however, to determine what type of landscape was shown, and longer still to be able to notice many details. In this exhibit, players will compete in categorizing scenes to see who can correctly identify them the fastest. We also will discuss patterns of brain function that are associated with scene perception.

The Octopus: Eight Arms and Eight Minds too?

Octopus arms have their own major neural networks that handle sensory-motor information much like our own spinal cords. We are exploring whether the nerve cords of the arms learn and store memories independently. We train the octopuses to learn that different textures can be associated with food reward or shock, and then test whether the memories are stored in the arms’ nerve cords, outside of the brain.

Robots Formed of Living Parts

This exhibit is based on discoveries of a National Science Foundation Science and Technology Center that includes MIT, Illinois, Georgia Tech, and three minority-serving institutions. The goal is to build living, multicellular machines that solve real-world problems in health, security, and the environment. This outreach activity that is managed and coordinated through the U of I Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology (CNST) is designed to be a macroscopic, hands-on, and programmable analog to a walking biobot.

The Secret Life of Babies

Chemicals are everywhere in our environment, including food packaging and personal care products we use every day. This exhibit will show how Beckman researchers are studying the impact these chemicals have on how babies think.

Stratton Elementary: Learning Science by Growing Coral Reef Ecosystems—Room 1005

For the past three years a team of dedicated students at Stratton Elementary has built fully functioning coral reef ecosystems and those students are learning marine biology through breeding clownfish, propagating coral and more. This exhibit will showcase Stratton’s partnership with Beckman Institute researchers. Third-, fourth- and fifth-grade students will showcase inquiry-based science and STEAM learning (traditional STEM learning with the addition of art). Visit their interactive exhibit for presentations on cutting-edge science instruction, to learn about fish and invertebrate aquaculture, see live jellyfish, and experience a tide pool touch tank. Brief presentations are scheduled for Friday at 10 a.m., 1 and 3 p.m.; and Saturday at 10 a.m., noon and 2 p.m.

Two-dimensional Electronic Devices

Using Virtual Reality for Aviation Simulation

This exhibit illustrates progress to date on the development of an Oculus Rift-based virtual reality simulation of an aviation cockpit and user/pilot activities in flying an aircraft in a simulated airspace. We envision this simulation to be useful for subsequent human factors, human performance, and human-computer interaction research to inform cockpit design, and to support enhanced human-automation interaction and pilot training.

A Virtual Reality Journey Through the Molecules of Life—Room 1003

Come and fly with us in a virtual reality journey across the molecules that build all living organisms. See shape-shifting proteins, replicating DNA, and the intricate chlorophilosophy of bacteria leaping at you from the screen one atom at a time.

Visualizing Atoms: Lyding Group Research

Exploring the world of atoms, molecules, and nanotechnology, the exhibit features a demo showcasing the inner workings of a scanning tunneling microscope, and a large collection of atomic-resolution images. Learn about graphene, photonic crystals, carbon nanotubes, quantum dots, and more.

What Do Tweets Say About Our Health?

Language use, particularly the usage of words/terms, reflect how people think, behave, and feel, and also may influence others. Today, social media allows us to express ourselves with few space and time boundaries and is an invaluable source of digital records about personal opinions, social marketing campaigns, and social interactions. Our interdisciplinary team is a marriage of social psychological theory and methods with computer science, linguistics, and statistics, all contributing to understanding and measuring social media patterns. We will provide visitors opportunities to gain hands-on experience in selecting/adding words/terms and using them for analyses. Visitors will gauge the methods and results through graphs, interactive maps, and some visualization tools. Members of our research team will answer visitors’ questions and collect their feedback.

Your Brain is Electric!

The Cognition and Brain Lab’s exhibit demonstrates electricity that your brain generates naturally.

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Second Floor Exhibits

Neurochemistry Odyssey—Rooms 2542, 2620, & 2638, & Atrium

Come on a treasure hunt to discover the state-of-the-art instruments used by the Sweedler Lab to uncover the chemistry of the nervous system. Also included is a chance to meet the world famous model organism, Aplysia californica, or California sea hare or sea slug. The treasure hunt starts in the Atrium and extends to the second floor.

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Third Floor Exhibits

Autonomous Materials for Next-Generation Systems—Room 3712 & Atrium

The Autonomous Materials Systems (AMS) Lab aims to impart biologically inspired functions to next-generation multifunctional materials. These new materials will be included in the airplanes, automobiles, and infrastructure of the future. We demonstrate exciting achievements such as plastics that self-heal from mechanical damage to extend their useful lifetime, batteries that can shut down automatically to avoid catching fire, coatings that change color when scratched to help make pipes and other structures safer, and composites containing intriguing vascular architectures. Our exhibits highlight topics including how these materials are made and integrated into composite structures and the science of microcapsule fabrication. We also will demonstrate the capabilities of modern manufacturing tools like 3D printing and laser cutting. Find us in the Atrium and stop by our labs for the full experience.

Doctor’s Office of the Future—Room 3520

Have you ever wondered what your eardrum or the back of your eye (a.k.a. retina) looks like? What about under your skin? In the Biophotonics Imaging Laboratory, we have developed advanced imaging tools for physicians and patients to see those at the micron scale. Using an optical imaging technique called optical coherence tomography (OCT), we can image through the eardrum, eye, or skin to observe what may lie below the surface. Come get a close-up picture of the inside of your ear or eye.

Laser Lab—Room 3510

Engineering is fascinating because it explores abstruse physics to change our life and the world. In the laser lab, we harness nonlinear optics to develop imaging technologies that allow us to see much more clearly the microscale biology world. Come and see how we use simple black metal and clear glass pieces to tame laser light and eventually generate beautiful scientific images. There also will be laser shows.

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