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Powerful Design: VISITORS CONTRIBUTE CRAZY, CLEVER, CREATIVE SUPERHEROES!

 

After wrapping up a popular exhibition that explored the way some comic book superheroes' powers are inspired by nature, the Michigan State University Museum collected some crazy, clever and creative ideas from visitors for new superheroes.
 
The MSU Museum received more than 500 drawings by visitors of all ages who were challenged with coming up with ideas for new superheroes and their super strengths.
Rock n Roll superhero
"POW-ERFUL DESIGN: Nature as Inspiration for Technology (Fictional and Real)" was featured in the MSU Museum's new Art-Science-Creativity Gallery during 2012; and here's a sampling of visitors' superhero suggestions:
 
-Escargot Express - a snail that can adhere to any surface with a shell full of gadgets
-Animorkom 2x39724 - who has wings of a bat, tusks of an elephant, vision of a vulture, claws of a wolf, venom of a snake, resistance like a cockroach.
-Ms. Melody - who sings in special frequencies to disarm criminals.
-Super IQ in Blue Girl -- who uses her intelligence quotient.
-Snow-stache - whose power derives from mustache wax
-Vine Guy - with a supply of super vines that can tangle villains before they get away.
-The Sixth Sense - who has extremely attuned senses and can predict criminals' actions before they do evil.
-Super Spartan Woman - who has the ability to survive and adapt to any weather at MSU and help solve problems everywhere.
-Morph Girl - whose secret costume allows her to transform into different animals.
-Rock and Roller - though blind, her seismic hands, feet, knees and elbows in conjunction with her echo locator shell enable her to roll into a perfect sphere and see in the dark.
-Museum Man - who can use any specimen in the museum to fight crime and save the world.
 
"We were excited to see the level of participation with the POW-erful Design exhibit," notes Stephen Thomas, assistant curator for science education at the MSU Museum and assistant professor of zoology.  "We hoped that having an opportunity to stretch visitors' creative muscles might help with making connections between nature and technology.  And what we found is that people exceeded that and drew from all types of inspirations.  We plan to analyze the drawings to see if there are any patterns that will help us to design better more engaging exhibits that connect science and society. "
 
Three winners were drawn from the entries and they will receive a $20 gift certificate from 21st Century Comics and Games in East Lansing: Neil DeSouza, Charlie Scott and Jonah (no last name). 
 
At the center of the exhibit was the idea of biomimetics (or biomimicry) - designing technology from nature. Real-life examples include a materials engineer who developed an adhesive based on the sticky toes of geckos, an architect who copied termite mounds to design a mall that does not need air conditioning, and (still in the works) an artificial surrogate nervous system patterned after bee behavior and communication.
 
"In an imaginative way, perhaps we can even learn something from Spider-Man's web-slinging, a tactic that he uses to capture villains and create parachutes, decoys, nets and shields. Organisms can inspire not just design, but also new materials," added Thomas. "Some of the ideas we gathered were funny and light-hearted, but, who knows, sometimes ideas come from unexpected places."