As we get closer to our much-anticipated weekend at the Googleplex for some Sci Foo Camping fun, we’re reminded of the journey we’ve taken over the past few years that has brought us into notice both at home and abroad. Given our blossoming adolescence, we think its time to get a little nostalgic, give thanks to our influences, and remember everyone that was with us along the way.
Our biggest break probably came in 2007, when we were honored with the chance to speak at the esteemed TED conference about the philosophy behind our work. Held yearly on the West Coast, TED has become one of the most regarded events for its multidisciplinary and innovative approach at sharing new or underrepresented ideas. It was here, on a big stage in front of the largest crowd we’ve yet to encounter, that we debuted a 3-minute clip from our now-popular The Inner Life of the Cell, and made a statement about the artistic and educational potential realizable through scientific animation. In our brief 9-minute session, we discussed ideas regarding truth and beauty, and ruminated over the saddening, yet ubiquitous irreflective attitude we tend toward subjects outside our own fields of interest. We conjectured that this habit of presenting things as dry and void of profundity distances us from one another, and results in a miasma of cultural insensitivity.
Inner Life was the first installment for a series of shorts for Harvard College’s department of Molecular and Cellular Biology – a project on which we are still actively working on. While we had already managed to gain the attention of people within the science and medicine industry, it was really at TED where our whispers were given the chance to reach more varied ears.
Since TED, we have had the luxury of working with a host of brilliant people in developing compelling visuals to enhance their message and vision for a better future. For Seth Berkley, medical epidemiologist and CEO of the GAVI Alliance, we create a short visualization of the HIV and flu viruses to illustrate the complexities of their biology. Dr. Berkley discussed the advances we’ve made toward a more thorough understanding of these terrible diseases, and gave us a glimpse into a future where millions of unnecessary deaths could be avoided each year.
We have also had the chance to involve ourselves with more specialized TED groups, namely TEDMED, a conference devoted specifically toward thoughts on medical technology and healthcare. For Sheila Nirenberg, investigator at Cornell University, we helped elucidate the potential for reversing blindness through the use of sophisticated microchip prosthetics. And for Danny Hillis, we designed some short medical illustrations to depict new directions being undertaken in cancer treatment.
One of our most exciting projects actually came in the form of an art installation, which is currently being housed at Chicago’s own Museum of Science and Industry. In collaboration with a handful of amazing companies, we helped develop a gigantic interactive heart. This 13-feet high, 8-feet wide, 2-and-a-half-D beast of an organ is able to sync to your own pulse, and reveal to you the inner and outer workings of your heart. We firmly believe in the role of great art in education, and it was a blast to get to play a part in this installation.
Naturally, as a medical animation studio, our primary job is to enhance visions. Through our visuals, aimed at tearing down walls of jargon, we hope to inspire fellow thinkers and doers alike, and let others know beauty can be found even in the most unlikely places. This was just a brief run-down of some of our work and history, and we hope you’ve enjoyed getting to know us! Feel free to leave comments, tell us a bit about yourself, and let us know what you think.