From 2005 to 2008, Keira Havens could have started World War III just by turning a key. As a missileer in the United States Air Force 90th Missile Wing, she manned a console that was linked to a battery of nuclear weapons and sealed behind an eight-ton steel door in a concrete bunker 60 feet beneath a missile field.
But Havens’s true interests lay outside the military, with its rigid checklists and strict protocols. By the end of three years, Havens, who has a degree in molecular biology, was ready for a change. “I was interested in doing something on my own,” she says, “answering new questions instead of just reciting things that I had learned.” She joined a University of Colorado biotechnology lab that was genetically engineering plants to change color in the presence of explosives. “One goal was to replace the TSA in airports with a jungle of living sensors,” Havens says.
After this experience, Havens struck out on her own, founding biotech company Revolution Bioengineering last year. With Dutch colleagues, Havens began work on a color-changing petunia, which turns from red to white when watered with a chemical trigger. Eventually, she plans to engineer blossoms that change color throughout the day—hot pink in the morning, deep purple in the afternoon.
Make a robot friend with Adafruit’s CRICKIT – A Creative Robotics & Interactive Construction Kit. It’s an add-on to our popular Circuit Playground Express, FEATHER and other platforms to make and program robots with CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. Start controlling motors, servos, solenoids. You also get signal pins, capacitive touch sensors, a NeoPixel driver and amplified speaker output. It complements & extends your boards so you can still use all the goodies on the microcontroller, now you have a robotics playground as well.