January 2015—Berkeley, CA. What keeps the blood in your body moving in one direction? How do your lungs pull air in and push air out? Why does your nose make sticky snot while your intestines make smelly gas? DIY Human Body, a new, free app for the iPad and iPhone, lets you discover how your body’s parts and complex systems really work. With the new app from UC Berkeley’s Lawrence Hall of Science, you can engineer models of human organs, and make a centrifuge replica that tests the contents of "blood." You can carry out experiments on what makes bones both rigid and flexible. You can even get "gross" to learn about the fluids and chemicals your body produces that keep you healthy.
Funded by the National Institutes of Health, DIY Human Body offers 13 fun, hands-on STEM explorations. You can also construct a one-way valve, like those in your heart and circulatory system, or engineer an "artificial lung” using a plastic bottle, balloon, and disposable glove. Such easy and safe explorations, combined with videos, offer insights into staying healthy, and engineering artificial body parts.
DIY Human Body can be used for learning at home, at school, after school, at community health events, and for patients in medical facilities. The app lets you go deeper to experience what makes your body strong and protects you from getting sick. Through hands-on inquiry, the app teaches why getting exercise, eating healthy food, washing your hands well, and not smoking are so important to your own health and the health of others.
"Breaking down and exploring the body’s interconnected parts and mechanisms help us understand it as a whole, and encourage us to keep our own bodies healthy," says Chris Keller, who led the app's development.
DIY Human Body follows two previous Lawrence Hall of Science apps, DIY Nano and DIY Sun Science. Download the app for your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch for free from the App Store. For more information, visit the DIY Human Body webpage.