Young boy works with tiny robots in the exhibit

Solution Studio

May 11 - September 8

Solution Studio Graphic with a smily face looking through a magnifyer

Scientists use creativity every day. Meet researchers from the University of Minnesota who are using their imagination to solve real challenges facing people and the planet.

In the Solution Studio, let your creativity run wild as you work to solve challenges inspired by this cutting edge research. We provide the materials and tools, you bring the big ideas and a willingness to explore, create, experiment, and share!

Throughout its summer run, the Solution Studio will feature special programs with Makers-in-Residence including UMN researchers, local artists, and community partners. Stay tuned to the events calendar for upcoming opportunities.

Featured Research

Solve the Puzzle
Peter Larsen, Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences

A deer in the woods

Larsen leads a team of UMN researchers developing a test to rapidly diagnose Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), a contagious, neurodegenerative disease afflicting white-tail deer, elk, and moose. The research team uses genomic tools to solve real world puzzles relevant to human health and wildlife well-being. Can you solve the puzzle challenge?

Select the Traits
Atena Haghighattalab, Department of Plant Pathology

Atena Haghighattalab in a field with a drone

Haghighattalab brings together diverse teams of farmers, plant breeders, and scientists to develop crop varieties better adapted for our changing world. Using tech like drones and sensors, they can quickly scan test fields for desirable traits which significantly reduces the time needed to develop new crops. How quickly can you sort plant traits?

Navigate a Spacecraft
Keith Goetz, Cynthia Cattell, and John Wygant, School of Physics and Astronomy

A team of scientists prepares the sensors for the Parker Solar Probe

NASA’s Parker Solar Probe—a spacecraft about the size of a small car—is on a fast track to the Sun. The UMN research team behind the FIELDS instrument (think super car radio) aboard the probe had to navigate a number of trade-offs during the design phase to keep the instrument working and the mission on track. Can you get a spacecraft to the Sun?

Sample Solution Lake
Jay Austin, UMD Large Lakes Observatory

Large research buoy being lowered into Lake Superior

Austin uses buoys and underwater drones to measure Lake Superior’s air and water temperature, wind speed, and water currents over the course of a year. The patterns revealed by his data help us better understand the changes in this complicated lake ecosystem. Can you build a structure to gather data for Solution Lake?

Guest Makers

Join guest makers in Solution Studio during select After Hours events:

July 10, dynamic duo Bianca Janine Pettis and Jacob Aaron Roske of Beatrix*JAR present a one-of-a-kind audio experience. The duo invites you to participate in an audio playground where you can make music on vintage electronics instruments and create unique sonic conversations. People of all skill levels are invited to experiment with sound without the pressure of a formal musical outcome.

July 17, a guest maker from the Weavers Guild of Minnesota will guide guests in making a bracelet by working with a partner to spin a bit of wool roving and then ply it back on itself. or learning to re-purpose yarn remnants using methods found across textile cultures to make tassels.

July 24, Jonathan Koffel and Karen Haselmann of UMN Libraries will share an AR/VR playground.

July 31, try your hand at cross stitching with Tiffany Reichard of UMN Libraries.

August 7, Kristen Mastel and Mary Armstrong of UMN Libraries will lead a session on paper cutting and nature printing.

August 14, join beekeeper Terry McDaniel to learn about the fascinating world of honey bees and the importance of planting native flowering plants to support pollinators. Participate in a collaborative craft project using supplied fabrics, paper, and other materials to create a wall hanging of a beautiful garden, full of flowers and busy pollinators.

August 21, learn about drones with Joe Knight and Dan Heins from the University’s Remote Sensing & Geospatial Analysis Labratory.

August 28, our guest will be Pete Marchetto from CFANS Deptartment of Bioproducts & Biosystems Engineering – Environmental Sensors.

With generous support from

Richard M Schulze Family Foundation, Best Buy Foundation, Food and Farm Alliance MN, Boston Scientific