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Chemicals! Chemicals! Chemicals! A #RE@LThrowBack

by | Mar 5, 2023 | RE@L StudentCorner | 0 comments

RE@L is dedicated to new and emerging Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) initiatives, including robots and artificial intelligence. Yes. There are robots. And then there are robots you may not have seen before. 

Meet Human Vaping Mimetic Real-Time Particle Analyzer, also known by its designer as HUMITIPAA. The robot was built by Dr. Kembaz Benam and his team at the University of Pittsburgh. Over time, this robot can tell us a lot about the chemicals we are actually inhaling should we choose to vape. To read more about this breakthrough work, look to Michael Machosky’s October 7, 2021 next Pittsburgh article, Pitt develops robot that vapes to study health impact of e-cigarettes Yes, STEM scientists there have created a robot that vapes! Research can indeed remain in the lab! 

Want to learn more about  hi-tech, STEM-based research? Perhaps you’d be interested to read about Liquid Chromotology-High-Resolution Mass Spectrometry. It is a new process being used by Johns Hopkins University that uses chemical fingerprints to measure the array of chemicals that can be found in both e-liquids and aerosols. Dr. Stanton Glantz, an emeritus professor from University of California-San Francisco faculty and expert on e-cigarettes, provides a review of the current research on his blog. Read about it here.

While these represent just two of hundreds of investigations about the chemical dangers of e-cigarettes, they have at least one ominous finding in common:

Thousands of identifiable chemicals have been discovered in e-cigarettes and vape aerosols. Virtually all are harmful to humans! Remember the sticker on the medicine cabinet?


In 1736, Benjamin Franklin said in his almanac as they were threatened with prospect of natural disasters, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” At RE@L, we couldn’t agree more, and it’s why we have invested our resources in an important and timely anti-nicotine, anti-vaping product, 1Up On Vaping™.


Designed with middle school students in mind, 1Up On Vaping™ is an engaging three chapter graphic arts story that vividly comes to life on a student’s computing device. It is rich in educational value, and the eye-catching graphics make the sometimes commonly covered topics fresh and engaging.

Yes, we can talk about how 1Up On Vaping™ addresses damage to body organs, including the lungs. It’s there. Or we can discuss how 1Up On Vaping™ handles peer pressure and nicotine addiction. It’s there. We can discuss how 1Up On Vaping™ helps students understand how products are marketed directly TO them. See our previous blog post, The Agency: Experience Is The Best Teacher. It’s there.

But 1Up On Vaping™ has a solid focus on nicotine and the additional chemicals that are found in combustibles and vapes. In chapter one of the graphics arts story, for instance, students are prohibited from moving forward in the game until they can solve a puzzle: the Chemicals Matching Game.

In another subtle but important activity, the Insecticide Puzzle, students press a spray can button at a bug that flies back and forth over it. When the spray hits the bug, the puzzle is solved. But the student gets the gist: chemicals that kill bugs are chemicals that can kill them!

And let’s not forget the Chemical Formula Puzzle at the end of the first chapter! It sets the stage for chapters 2 and 3 by introducing the chemical formula for nicotine.

It’s one thing to learn about the various chemicals that can be found in cigarettes or vapes, but it’s still another to learn how those chemicals actually impact the brain. Specifically, how the chemicals GET to the brain, how they affect the brain chemically, and how the chemicals impact brain functions. 1Up On Vaping™ does just that!



Yes, STEM education is alive and well! We see it in the groundbreaking University of Pittsburgh robot, HUMITIPAA, and we see it in the cutting-edge work with mass spectrometry at Johns Hopkins University. And we see it with RE@L’s 1Up On Vaping™.

STEM work and STEM education are here and making a difference!


*Some images in this blog were provided courtesy of




Randy Nelson


Randy Nelson is a retired educator of 38 years. He served students as a high school speech, theater, and English teacher. He served colleagues as a director of curriculum and instruction; and, most recently he served the La Crosse, WI school district as its superintendent of schools. He has a strong leadership track record promoting choice and innovation via unique community partnerships. He currently serves RE@L, inc as its Director of Education.