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.
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Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.