Amazing/Weird Period Board Game Teaches Kids About Menstruation

Back in my day, kids learned about periods the old fashioned way: By being shoved into a gender-segregated classroom with the lights off and forced to watch a cartoon about deodorant, new hair growth, and monthly bleeding. But this is 2016, and ladies no longer need to hide in dark classrooms to learn about the joys of sanitary napkins and the maze that is the fallopian tubes. Champion swimmers talk about their periods on international television, and marathon runners let their blood flow freely down their legs as they cross the finish line.

Now you can learn about menarche with a spin of the ovaries. Designers Daniela Gilsanz and Ryan Murphy created the Period Board Game in a Rhode Island School of Design class to turn the awkwardness of menstruation education into a fun experience.

To play, you just have to turn one of the two ovaries, releasing a marble that’s either red or clear. If it’s red, you’re on your period, and you get to move forward on the game board. If it’s clear, sorry, you’ve just learned about vaginal discharge.

You can play cards that protect you from period woes like leaks and PMS, or end up without a tampon headed for the nurse’s office to sit out your next turn. The first person to get around the board—past ovulation, periods, and PMS—wins.

Will this actually turn talking about periods with young girls into a fun, positive experience? Maybe. It at least forces kids to say the word tampon a few times, although without a doubt, kids will find a way to find the whole situation mortifying regardless. But hey, every child should have to confront the realities of ovulation at some point. Plus, it’s so cute!

The game doesn’t have a distributor yet, since it was a student project, but hopefully some company will pick it up and put one in every kid’s hands soon enough.

See it in action in the video below:

The Period Game from Daniela Gilsanz on Vimeo.

All images courtesy The Period Game.

This Augmented-Reality App Makes the Hospital Experience Less Scary for Kids

Staying in a hospital can be a scary experience for kids, but a little distraction can make it less stressful. According to studies conducted by Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool, UK, distracted patients have an easier time with their appointments and require less pain medication. Now, Co.Design reports that the hospital is releasing its own app designed to keep children entertained—and calm—from the moment they check in.

The Android and iOS app, called Alder Play, was designed by ustwo, the makers of the wildly popular smartphone game Monument Valley and the stress relief tool Pause. Patients can download the app before they arrive at the hospital, choosing a virtual animal buddy to guide them through their stay. Then, once they check into the hospital, their furry companion shows them around the facility using augmented-reality technology.

The app features plenty of fun scavenger hunts and other games for kids to play during their downtime, but its most important features are designed to coach young patients through treatments. Short videos walk them through procedures like blood tests so that when the time comes, the situation will feel less intimidating. And for each step in the hospitalization process, from body scans to gown changes, doctors can give kids virtual stickers to reward them for following directions or just being brave. There’s also an AI chatbot (powered by IBM’s Watson) available to answer any questions kids or their parents might have about the hospital.

The app is very new, and Alder Hey is still assessing whether or not it's changing their young hospital guests’ experiences for the better. If the game is successful, children's hospitals around the world may consider developing exclusive apps of their own.

[h/t Co.Design]

Cell Free Technology
This Pixel Kit Will Let You Play Tetris With Jellyfish DNA
Cell Free Technology
Cell Free Technology

Forget playing Tetris on your phone. Now you can play it with jellyfish DNA. Bixels is a DIY game kit that lets you code your own games using synthetic biology, lighting up a digital display with the help of DNA.

Its 8-by-8 pixel grid is programmed to turn on with the help of the same protein that makes jellyfish glow, called green fluorescent protein (GFP). But you can program it to do more than just passively shine. You can use your phone and the associated app to excite Bixels' fluorescent proteins and make them glow at different frequencies, producing red, blue, and green colors. Essentially, you can program it like you would any computer, but instead of electronics powering the system, it's DNA.

Two blue boxes hold Bixel pixel grids.

Researchers use green fluorescent protein all the time in lab experiments as an imaging agent to illuminate biological processes for study. With Bixels, all you need is a little programming to turn the colorful lights (tubes filled with GFP) into custom images or interactive games like Tetris or Snake. You can also use it to develop your own scientific experiments. (For experiment ideas, Bixels' creator, the Irish company Cell-Free Technology, suggests the curricula from BioBuilder.)

A screenshot shows a user assembling a Bixel kit on video.

A pixel kit is housed in a cardboard box that looks like a Game Boy.

Bixels is designed to be used by people with all levels of scientific knowledge, helping make the world of biotechnology more accessible to the public. Eventually, Cell-Free Technology wants to create a bio-computer even more advanced than Bixels. "Our ultimate goal is to build a personal bio-computer which, unlike current wearable devices, truly interacts with our bodies," co-founder Helene Steiner said in a press release.

Bixels - Play tetris with DNA from Cell-Free Technology on Vimeo.

You can buy your own Bixel kit on Kickstarter for roughly $118. It's expected to ship in May 2018.

All images courtesy Cell-Free Technology


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