The Machine Inside: Biomechanics

Under the familiar surface of nature, every living thing is a machine with every feature built for survival. All species—from the long-extinct to the recently-discovered—have evolved specialized ways of adapting to the world. In this traveling exhibition from The Field Museum, visitors discover the marvels of natural engineering—and see how humans can draw inspiration from the innovations of evolution. The Science Museum of Minnesota worked with the Field Museum to prototype and fabricate a suite of new interactive components for the exhibition.

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Giraffe heart-pumping interactive
Giraffe heart-pumping interactive
Why is a giraffe’s heart so big? Visitors learn why by using their hands to pump the giraffe’s blood up to its brain on this full-sized model.

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Spider leg interactive
Spider leg interactive
How does a spider move its legs? Fluid in the joint is compressed when visitors push down on a plunger, extending the spider’s leg.

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Grip strength interactive
Grip strength interactive
How strong are you? Visitors squeeze a fluid-filled tube and compare their grip strength with that of other animals.

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Flapping interactive
Flapping interactive
This whole body activity shows visitors the difference between a long wing and a short wing by letting them flap human sized wings while sitting on a pivoting chair.

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Viscosity demonstration
Viscosity demonstration
The smaller you are, the harder it is to swim. Visitors rotate the tube and see different sized balls move at different speeds as they float to the top.

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Jumping flea
Jumping flea
How can a flea jump so far? This mechanical interactive shows visitors how a flea compresses the resilin in its leg and releases it for a powerful jump.

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