Engineering Simulations


Play the Bionic Arm Design

  1. O1 Learn - Learn how to build a bionic arm
  2. O2 Analyze -  Analyze an existing arm so that you understand the different components for the actuators, end effectors, and materials.
  3. O3 Design - Select an actuator, end effector, and material for your bionic arm.
  4. O4 Test - Test your completed design and adjust as necessary until you achieve SUCCESS.
About the Bionic Arm Design Challenge (TryEngineering)

A bionic arm combines robotics, biotechnology, and electronics to recreate the functions of the human arm. Advances in bionics can improve the lives of millions of people with lost limbs.

In this challenge, players virtually design and test a robotic arm, and learn how engineers create working artificial arms.
  • Discover the different components used to make a bionic arm.
  • Test your arm against several criteria commonly used in the construction of real robotic arms.
  • Work with a budget to choose the components you think will create the best arm, and see how it performs.


  1. Click on the Design a Parachute and launch the interactive.
  2. Review all parts of the interactive
  3. Design, test, and revise your design until you have achieved SUCCESS.

About NOVA Design a Parachute

For an engineer, there's perhaps no greater feeling than to be given a problem and then devising a successful solution. More often than not, the satisfaction—or disappointment—that results from such a challenge is a factor of the stakes involved. For the two Mars Exploration Rover (MER) missions, with $800 million on the line, the stakes were especially high—perhaps no more so than for the engineers in charge of designing the missions' parachutes. Their task was to come up with a chute strong enough not to be blown apart when opened at high speed, stable enough to keep the MER from swinging, and yet small enough to fit in a small canister.

Here, take on the role of the lead engineer in charge of designing the MER parachute. Can you come up with a design that will slow the MER safely as it approaches the martian surface? You'll need to consider trade-offs in the parachute's stability, strength, and volume.