Explore Nanotechnology with Games and Simulators!
by Robin Hegg
Working at the nanoscale isn’t something everyone will get a chance to do, but luckily there are nanotechnology games and tools online that can simulate the real thing and help put your new knowledge into perspective.
NanoMission is a series of four downloadable nanotechnology games. After registering on the site, the game modules can be downloaded and played on your computer. The games include
-“NanoScaling” lets players explore and visualize the huge scale of different objects from gigameters (used to measure the diameter of the sun and the distance between planets) to picometers (one trillionth of a meter, used to measure atoms and molecular bonds).
-“NanoImaging” asks players to save the world’s lakes and rivers from by using scanning electron microscope (SEM) technology to image, identify and destroy the dangerous organisms putting them at risk.
-“NanoMedicine V1” has players working to deliver an anti-cancer compound to a tumor. First players must select a suitable vehicle to deliver the drug, then navigate it through the patient’s bloodstream to the tumor, while avoiding the body’s defenses.
-“NanoMedicine V2” helps players get a better understanding of how nanomedicines are created. In it, players build nanoscopic particles and, through observation and experimentation, try to cure cancer in a patient by measuring the particles’ effects on the patient at the cellular level.
Duckboy in Nanoland is a nanotechnology theme park adventure from the Museum of Science, London that can show you how different things can be on the nanoscale. Each ride you take Duckboy on begins on the normal scale, then zooms in to the nanoscale where properties and behaviors change in interesting ways.
Virtual Microscope is a NASA-funded microscope simulator. It includes a Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM), Light Microscope, Atomic Force Microscope, and an Energy Dispersive Spectrometer for the SEM. The simulator allows you to examine real specimens using hundreds of images taken at different positions and magnifications.
nanoHUB is an online resource for nanoscience and nanotechnology created by the Network for Computational Nanotechnology. In addition to great overall information on the basics of nanoscience, it includes simulations for over 300 scientific tools.