If you played with Pokémon cards as a kid, you’ll be excited to get your hands on the new BMC Sci Cards. Michie Wu and Shehryar Saharan, two Biomedical Communications (BMC) students at UTM, have created beautiful, dynamic trading cards featuring animals with unique abilities in real life. The BMC SciCards were a collaborative after-school project for Wu and Saharan, which they described in an interview with University as a “fun Pokémon card spin-off”.
The purpose of these cards, as described by both Wu and Saharan, was to “communicate the science or special abilities of real animals,” while also being a way to connect with incoming students in their field. Masters program at UTM – Biomedical Communications, which is affectionately nicknamed BMC by its students. The two-year program is one-of-a-kind and focuses on scientific visualization using a variety of media, including traditional and digital methods of artistic creation.
“We started on our own. We were just talking and thinking about ways to collaborate together, ”Wu said. The couple noted that they were missing out on collaborative projects during the first year of their program due to its online nature, and wanted to explore different ways to familiarize enthusiastic incoming students with BMC.
The result of their brainstorming was a series of cards from Wu, Saharan, and a few other BMC students that feature interesting animals rendered in each artist’s unique style, with descriptions of their most notable characteristics and abilities on the back. cards. “We had a lot of online meetings,” Wu said. “We had weekly meetings that were scheduled with each other just for the SciCards. ”
For his SciCard, Saharan chose to draw and represent the panther chameleon, a beautiful, complex creature whose skin has the ability to change color. Saharan said he always wondered how the chameleon could change the color of his skin and was pleasantly surprised when he started his research. “It turns out that he has several layers of skin that expand and contract, and there is a pigment that is released. So there is a combination of really interesting scientific mechanisms that occur on a microscopic scale that allow it to change color in seconds, ”he explained.
The Sahara coin was traditionally drawn using a method called “carbon dust”. Then he digitized the design in a digital program to add the changes he wanted. This flexibility between traditional and digital mediums allows artists to develop their own unique hybrid style.
Wu chose to portray an equally magnificent animal, the Blue Dragon Sea Slug. “What he does is he ingests these tiny little organisms that live there. And these organisms live in his fingers, basically, like appendages that are outside of his main body,” she explained. She added that the organisms sprouted from the slug’s fingers as a defense mechanism.
Wu and Saharan can often exercise both their scientific knowledge and artistic skills at BMC. When they can’t find scientific diagrams that comprehensively explain certain mechanisms, they can leverage their skills and create visuals that succinctly explain these processes.
As for the SciCards, Wu and Saharan hope it will be an annual effort. They hope that incoming students will participate in the project and create their own cards, to make the project grow from year to year. Saharan hopes to see a larger collection of BMC SciCards in the years to come.
“We have already printed the first set, and it will be included in the student welcome pack for next year, so I hope they will be interested in the project. Wu said.