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Science

Engineering students created a life-size 'Operation' game—with a fun twist on the fail buzzer

The game trades in tweezers for tongs and the anxiety-producing buzzer for an audio meme.

engineering, operation, medicine, anatomy

Students at Washington State University created a life-size Operation game.

Anyone who has ever played the game Operation likely feels a teensy bit of anxiety just thinking about it. The experience of painstakingly trying to extract the Charlie Horse with those tiny, wired tweezers with a steady hand, only to accidentally touch the metal side and get the lightning-like jolt of the buzzer is hard to shake. That's the stuff of core memories right there.

But what if you had a humongous game board the size of a real human, with life-size bones and organs to extract? What if instead of tweezers, you had large tongs as tools to perform your operation? What if instead of Pavlovian-style fail buzzers, the game produced a much less traumatic womp womp womp sound when you mess up?


That's exactly what students in Washington State University’s chapter of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) spent the past two years designing and producing—a life-size Operation game that's not only fun to play, but can help kids learn about the human body.

Students took on the project after Pullman Regional Hospital’s Center for Learning and Innovation approached WSU engineering professor Roland Chen about the idea. Chen took the concept to his senior-level design class and they created an initial plan, which was then passed on to the engineering club.

operation game; bones

3D cut outs of bones

Courtesy of Washington State University

WSU senior Joel Villanueva, who served as a team leader on the project, tells Upworthy that approximately 15 students were involved in the game's creation over the two years it took to complete it. The project was quite complex as it involved translating the computer-aided design to a real table, creating multiple prototypes, figuring out the right level of challenge and making sure it was safe for kids to use.

In terms of gameplay, Villanueva says it's very similar to the original board game, but obviously much larger and with a few key differences. "We have tongs that aren't connected to wires, which was a safety concern, so we found a way to increase that safety factor," he says. "And it also has sound. So when it's triggered, a red light is emitted and an error sound is also emitted."

operation game, human body

The life-size version of Operation uses tongs instead of tweezers.

Courtesy of Washington State University

Villanueva says they didn't want the fail signal to be too alarming, which makes sense since the game was made for kids at the local science center. So instead of the buzzing of the original game, touching the sides of the organ or bone opening results in a sad trombone sound—womp womp womp wommmp.

The game is officially referred to as the Surgery Skill Lab and is now a part of the EveryBODY exhibit at the Palouse Discovery Science Center (PDSC) in Pullman, Washington. It's ultimately a learning tool, and Villanueva says they put the bones and organs in their appropriate locations in the body to help kids learn about human anatomy.

"We worked with the BMES [Biomedical Engineering Society] student section who created some fact sheets about the project," adds Villanueva. "For example, 'The heart pumps this much blood at a given time'—small fun facts like that."

The bones were 3D printed, then coated with silicone (so the tongs can grip them), and the soft organs were molded out of silicone using 3D-printed molds.

operation game, engineering, washington state university

Pictured left to right at the Palouse Discovery Science Center: Kevin Dalbosco Dal Forno, Silas Peters, Roland Chen, Connor Chase, Ryan Cole, Becky Highfill, and Joel Villanueva

Courtesy of Joel Villanueva

The game was unveiled at a Family Night event at the PDSC on January 19, so Villanueva and his team got to see how it was received.

"It was an eye-catcher," says Villanueva. "There were many kids playing with it and it seemed like they were having lots of fun with it."

Jess Jones, who is part of the education team at PDSC, tells Upworthy that there was also a real doctor at the exhibit during the opening to talk with kids about medicine. She says the game has been a hit with kids so far.

"They're loving it," she says. "The organs are 3D printed so they feel kind of realistic. The kids are loving the texture."

brain, operation game

The life-size 3D-printed brain kids can remove in the Surgery Skill Lab.

Courtesy of Washington State University

The project is a win-win for both the university students and the local community. The students got to put their engineering skills into practice using various software and technologies and also gained valuable life skills such as time management, documentation, leadership and more. And the community gained a fun and educational exhibit both kids and nostalgic adults can enjoy.

Three cheers for innovation and collaboration that helps us all learn. (And good riddance, stress-inducing buzzer.)

A young mom with her kids in the ER.

Sage Pasch’s unique family situation has attracted a lot of attention recently. The 20-something mother of 2 shared a 6-second TikTok video on September 29 that has been viewed over 33 million times because it shows how hard it can be for young moms to be taken seriously.

In the video, the young-looking Pasch took her son Nick to the ER after he injured his leg at school. But when the family got to the hospital, the doctor couldn’t believe Pasch was his mother. “POV, we’re at the ER, and the doctor didn’t believe I was the parent,” she captioned the post.


Pasch and her fiancé , Luke Faircloth, adopted the teen in 2022 after his parents tragically died two years apart. “Nick was already spending so much time with us, so it made sense that we would continue raising him,” Pasch told Today.com.

The couple also has a 17-month-old daughter named Lilith.

@coffee4lifesage

He really thought i was lying😭

Pasch says that people are often taken aback by her family when they are out in public. "Everybody gets a little confused because my fiancé and I are definitely younger to have a teenager," she said. "It can be very frustrating."

It may be hard for the young parents to be taken seriously, but their story has made a lot of people in a similar situation feel seen. "Omg, I feel this. I took my son to the ER, and they asked for the guardian. Yes, hi, that's me," Brittany wrote in the comments. "Meee with my teenager at a parent-teacher conference. They think I’m her older sister and say we need to talk with your parents," KatMonroy added.


This article originally appeared on 10.24.23

Motherhood

Newly postpartum wife nervously shows off dress. Her fiancé's reaction has people gushing.

"He’s an amazing man who does nothing but lift you up. Hold tight to him, he’s a keeper!"

Sarah Chai and Vlada Karpovich|Canva

Man has sweetest reaction to postpartum fiancé wearing dress

Having a baby changes your body and while it may seem that some people pop right back to their pre-pregnancy size, not every one does. The expectation for people to be able to wear their old clothes mere weeks after birthing a tiny human is practically impossible for the vast majority of the human population. But it doesn't stop us from comparing and grieving the body that was once so familiar.

These drastic changes can leave people feeling self-conscious and defeated. Sophia Bullis was feeling a bit less confident about her new body after giving birth to a son she shares with fiancé Jeff. The new mom hasn't worn a dress since the baby was born due to these insecurities so she wanted to surprise Jeff with sporting an adorable white summer dress. In order to catch his genuine reaction, she set up her camera and it's giving everyone the feels.


Jeff is clearly the ultimate hype man. He comes around the corner carrying their baby and stops in the doorway staring in awe at Sophia. Pointing to the baby, he asks if the baby sees "that" before looking back up at his fiancé.

"I did not realize we were in the presence of royalty, let me try this again," Jeff says as he leaves and comes back only to pretend to faint.

Really, you couldn't ask for a better confidence boost than having your fiancé fawn over you in the most wholesome way possible. Commenters agree that Jeff is definitely a keeper.

"Men don’t know how much this means to women in general but especially after a baby," someone writes.

"If your man doesn’t make you giggle to the point where your cheeks hurt telling you how stunning you are what are you even doing," another says.

"I love how much he adores you! You deserve it mama," someone else shares.

"Men will never understand how much this means to women post pregnancy can be tough," one person gushes.

Jeff's support for his fiancé is a beautiful reflection of love that Sophia admits is one of the things she loves most about him in the caption.

"One of many things i love about him, his reactions and how he makes me feel so loved, pretty, wanted, and confident. Ive been struggling a lot lately with postpartum effects, and confidence with my body, and Jeff has been there for every step of it. It truly is hard, and if you are going through it, you got this," she shares.

See the sweet video below:

Joy

Gen X has hit 'that stage' of life and is not handling it very well

We are NOT prepared for Salt-n-Pepa to replace Michael McDonald in the waiting room at the doctor's office, thankyouverymuch.

Gen X is eating dinner earlier and earlier. It's happening.

The thing about Gen X being in our 40s and 50s now is that we were never supposed to get "old." Like, we're the cool, aloof grunge generation of young tech geniuses. Most of the giants that everyone uses every day—Google, Amazon, YouTube—came from Gen X. Our generation is both "Friends" and "The Office." We are, like, relevant, dammit.

And also, our backs hurt, we need reading glasses, our kids are in college and how in the name of Jennifer Aniston's skincare regimen did we get here?

It's weird to reach the stage when there's no doubt that you aren't young anymore. Not that Gen X is old—50 is the new 30, you know—but we're definitely not young. And it seems like every day there's something new that comes along to shove that fact right in our faces. When did hair start growing out of that spot? Why do I suddenly hate driving at night? Why is this restaurant so loud? Does that skin on my arm look…crepey?


As they so often do, Penn and Kim Holderness from The Holderness Family have captured the Gen X existential crisis in a video that has us both nodding a long and laughing out loud. Salt-n-Pepa in the waiting room at the doctor's office? Uh, no. That's a line we are not ready to cross yet. Nirvana being played on the Classic Rock station? Nope, not prepared for that, either.

Watch:

Hoo boy, the denial is real, isn't it? We grew up on "Choose Your Own Adventure" books, for goodness sake, and it's starting to feel like we made a wrong choice a chapter or two back and suddenly landed our entire generation in a time warp. This isn't real, is it? Thirty years ago was the 1970s. That's just a Gen X fact. So what if we've lived long enough for our high school fashions to go out of style and then back into style and then back out of style again?

Seriously, though, we can either lament our age and stage in life or we can laugh about it, and people are grateful to the Holdernesses for assisting with the latter. Gen X fans are also thrilled to see their own experiences being validated, because at this point, we've all had that moment in the grocery store or the waiting room when one of our jams came on and we immediately went into a panic.

"They were playing The Cure in the grocery store and I almost started crying," wrote one commenter. "I mean, how 'alternative' can you be if you're being played in Krogers? You guys are great! Thanks for making us laugh."

"I couldn’t believe it when I heard Bohemian Rhapsody being played in Walmart," shared another. "That was edgy in my day."

"I know!!! Bon Jovi at the grocery store!!! That was my clue in!!" added another.

"Long live Gen Xers! We have to be strong!! We can get through this together!! #NKOTBmeetsAARP" wrote on commenter.You can find more from the Holderness Family on their Facebook page, their podcast and their website, theholdernessfamily.com.


This article originally appeared on 1.28.24

Georgia sorority sisters risk lives to save family trapped in sinking car

Sometimes people with the right skills just happen to end up in the right place at the right time. These are the moments we find out what reaction we would have if faced with an emergency situation. Five sorority sisters in Georgia were on their way out of town when they had a miraculous twist of fate on their detour to get lunch.

While heading off course to find something to eat, one of the girls spotted something out of the corner of her eye. Instincts kicked in when it registered what they saw. A car had lost control and veered off the road into a creek below. The girls called out to ask if they were okay and that's when the five sorority sisters kicked into automatic action.

Cori Craft, yells to the girls that her two small children are still trapped in the car, one of them just 4-years-old, strapped into his carseat.


All five girls quickly jumped into the water, working together to force the door open. Molly McCollum, Jane McArdle, Eleanor Cart, Clarke Jones and Kaitlyn lannace, were able to get the older child out but the youngest remained strapped into the completely submerged car. Time was not on their side as the girls explain, the little boy had been under the water for four to five minutes. By the time they were able to get him out, the boy was unconscious with blue lips.

Thankfully, Jones worked as a lifeguard in high school which allowed her training to kick in. The college student put the child on the car, performing CPR until he began breathing again.

"I was a lifeguard in high school for one summer, so I just remembered it from then," Jones tells GMA. "We had no clue if he was going to survive at all. And so I'm like, 'This is the one thing I know how to do that I can help. And so I'm just going to give it my best try.'"

After some time in the hospital, the boys have recovered from the terrifying ordeal. As for the sorority sisters, they were awarded with a badge of honor from the Burke County Sheriff's Department.

Representative image by Chino Rocha on Unsplash

Lasting relationships include a lot of shared joy.

Few couples make it to 60 years of marriage, as either divorce or death usually hit before that milestone. So it's a rare treat to get to see a couple who's been married that long interact with one another.

That's one reason a video shared by a woman named Jennifer (@jennjensc) on TikTok has so many people talking. The other reason is that it's a just hilariously delightful.

"My parents have been married 63 years. My mom was recently diagnosed with lung cancer. She’s doing chemo and radiation and smiling all she can!” Jennifer wrote in the caption.

In the video, Jennifer tells her dad, "Papa," that "Nana" is trying on her new wig. "So be encouraging," Jennifer says, to which he responds, "She's trying on wigs? That's good."


To his credit, he tried to be encouraging…which lasted about two seconds once he saw her. When Nana came through the doorway with a long, braided black wig parted down the middle, her husband said, "Well, look at that…" And then honesty hit, followed by peals of laughter.

Watch:

When you've been together with someone for over six decades, there's not a lot that you can hide from one another, and this entire interaction proof. The sheer honesty of "I don't believe I like that," and "You look like Willie Nelson!" are so real, and the fact that they busted out laughing together speaks to the power of humor in a lasting relationship.

"He was really ready in his heart to try and be encouraging 😂😂😂," wrote one commenter.

"They are the cutest! I love how he started “ohhh, look at that!” And then couldn’t even handle lying to her 😂😂😂," wrote another.

"He made her LAUGH, which is way better than lying ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️" shared another.

"I love this. You can tell there’s a lot of love with all the laughter," shared another.

And it doesn't end there. Nana took the Willie Nelson bit even further in a follow-up video that showcases just how much humor plays a role in their lives.

@jennjensc

Today nan finshed the halfway mark of chemo and radiation. She is feeling great. She so enjoys akl tge comments prayers and good vibes ! #nana #papa #willie #journey #chemo #radation #lungcancer #faith #laughter#love

Nana and Papa, who are 81 and 83 respectively, were high school sweethearts. They met at a roller rink, "and we've been going 'round together ever since," Nana said in another video. "Sometimes we've been goin' 'round and 'round," she added with a giggle. The two really are an adorable couple, and as people have shared in the comments, they're an inspiration for what a relationship can be even after over 60 years together.

The most common wedding vow includes the phrase "in sickness and in health," and the fact that these two are still having so many laughs together as Nana goes through radiation and chemotherapy exemplifies that phrase. They've been a team for almost their entire lives, and a cancer diagnosis isn't going to get in the way of that.

You can follow more of Nana's and Papa's love story on Jennifer's TIkTok here.