Projects Underway

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DIY Hands-on Biotechnology Video Games with Lab Simulation Builder

Dr. M. Ete Chan

Project Team
  • Richard McKenna
  • Paul St. Denis

Stony Brook University


Tier Three


Project Abstract:

This proposal seeks continued IITG support in Funding Tier 3 to extend our funded inter-departmental project in a previous cycle (2016-17). Wet-lab teaching is a crucial part of STEM education. However, lab tools are expensive and one-on-one supervision is almost impossible in most classes. Gamifying wet-lab teaching, 2D and 3D lab video games have been used to educate students one-on-one to provide feedback to their individual performance. However, it cannot teach students the important tactile skills needed to control lab tools such as micropipette. Hence, instead of using keyboards or regular game controllers, our previous project successfully created innovative hands-on electronic devices that shape like regular lab tools to control our custom lab video games. It is a proof-of-concept that our hands-on device can emulate real lab tools to perform their intended functions. While the prototypes of our hands-on devices were created with 3D printed shells, micro-controllers and sensors, the additional funding will allow us to further optimize our design for mass production so that these can be tested by more students. The cost of our prototype was less than one-fifth of that of the actual lab tool it emulates, the optimization will further reduce that cost and the production efficiency. Additionally, we aim to develop a "Lab Simulation Builder" which will facilitate instructors, without any computer programming requirement, to create their own lab games based on their individual teaching plans simply by drag and drop. This will allow instructors to create more variety and levels of lab games that will interact with our hands-on devices and simulate more realistic tasks and procedures that take place in most biotechnology laboratories. The success of this project will provide students hands-on lab learning experience by allowing them to practice their tactile skill in an entertaining and a less stressful environment.

Project Outcome: