The Heart and Lung Convenience Store

The Heart and Lung Convenience Store was the National Heart and Lung Institute’s second pop-up science shop, taking over an empty retail unit in Hammersmith’s Kings Mall from October 19 – November 1 2015.

Shop Front

The store was a collection of interactive exhibits and installations exploring the future of heart and lung healthcare and how medicine is becoming more available, more personalised and more convenient. NHLI scientists collaborated with five designers and one performer to develop activities for the shop.

Shop Aisles

We imagined what a convenience store for the heart and lungs might look like and what products and services it would have. We developed fictional futuristic products, based on ideas from real research, such as: Diagnostic Tissues (that turn blue when you have the flu), a DIY Genome Sequencing Kit, Lung Conditioner (to keep your lung microbes healthy) and Intelligent Infection ID Kits (for DIY identification of bacterial infections). 

Lottery Game

We created a Heart and Lung Lottery game about the environmental impacts on heart and lung health. The grey balls in the machine represented pollution and other damaging particles whereas the gold balls represented clean air and healthy heart and lungs. Players had to answer questions including ‘Do you drive a car?’ and ‘Have you had a BBQ or bonfire recently?”. Answering ‘yes’ meant that more grey balls were added to the lottery machine. The player then had to try to catch as many gold balls as possible in one minute, while avoiding the grey balls. 

Scratch Cards

We designed a Heart and Lung Lottery Scratch Card, showing the interplay of genetic, environmental and lifestyle risk factors for heart and lung diseases. Even if someone has a genetic susceptibility to a certain disease, they can always lower their risk by making changes to their lifestyle and environment. 

Microbe Mix

The Microbe Mix installation was a ‘pick and mix’ of different bacterial species found in the lungs (represented by brightly coloured pasta shapes). Visitors could ‘pick and mix’ their own microbe community and look at examples of different profiles of communities found in the lungs based on NHLI research, for example microbial communities found in healthy lungs, people with asthma and people with COPD.

Medicine Cabinet

Visitors explored The Medicine Cabinet by matching keys, marked with questions such as ‘What medicine is used to treat asthma?’, to cabinets labeled with different drugs used to treat heart and lung conditions. Inside each cabinet were medicine bottles labeled with information about the discovery, history, uses and side affects of each drug. 

3D Printing

Our 3D printer made plastic veins and arteries of different sizes, showing how new technologies are opening up novel opportunities within medical research.

Hammersmith Heart Rhythm Skyline

We used an Alivecor device with a tablet computer to show visitors a live recording of their heart rhythm, which was then printed to create the Hammersmith Heart Rhythm Skyline around the perimeter of the store.

HAL, the store’s travelling sales android, helped to spread the word about the store by meeting and greeting people around the shopping centre and the surrounding streets.

Skype A Professor In our photo booth visitors could have conversations via Skype with NHLI professors about their research. 

Voting Installation

We asked visitors to contribute their opinions about heart and lung research through voting installations. The winning Heart and Lung Healthcare Vision of the Future was ‘Self Care for Better Quality of Life’ which was a vision of using smartphone technology to empower patients with long-term conditions to take control of their own care.

Quality of Life

For the Quality of Life voting installation visitors were asked to choose which factors they felt were most important for good quality of life and which factors they thought had the most impact on reduced quality of life. ‘Being fit’ was the factor that people felt was most important for good quality of life and ‘being in pain’ was the factor that people felt had most important impact on reduced quality of life.

Shop Demo 34 NHLI scientists developed Shop Demos. You can watch some of the Shop Demos on our Heart and Lung Convenience Store Shopping Channel on YouTube.


And more than 20 NHLI scientists developed interactive workshops to engage visitors with their research.

Fun Kids

We collaborated with Fun Kids, a digital and online radio station to create The Heart and Lung Hotline, a collection of short audio features about the science behind the shop. Five NHLI scientists worked with Fun Kids producers to write scripts about five different research topics and then visited the Fun Kids recording studio to create the voiceovers. James Moss kicked off the series with a feature on the lifestyle choices we can make to keep our heart and lungs healthy. Mike Cox voiced a feature about bacteria and the lung microbiome, Ryan Robinson talked about the potential of 3D printing to make new hearts and Charlotte Dean covered genetics. Jill Johnson completed the series with a feature about how new medicines are developed. The five features were heard by over 250,000 people during the broadcast period in September and October and they will continue to be available online on the Fun Kids website - The Heart and Lung Hotline. We also collaborated with Fun Kids to run a workshop in the store for year 5 and 6 students from Flora Gardens Primary School.

People at bar

Seven NHLI scientists got involved in two Heart and Lung themed pub quiz nights at the Hammersmith Ram (just over the road from the Kings Mall shopping centre), including a Q&A discussion about heart and lung health in the interval that covered topics such as smoking, lung cancer, artificial hearts and stem cells.


There were 3,014 visitors to The Heart and Lung Convenience Store during the two weeks it was open and over 90 NHLI scientists were involved in facilitating the shop and chatting to visitors about their research.





Science Collaborators and Shop Facilitators: Marta Abreu Paiva, Pelin Arabacilar, Sarah Allden, Luis Berrocal Almanza, Caroline Anderson, Hima Anbunathan, Sonya Babu-Narayan, Matt Bilton, Aime Boakye, Will Branchett, Susann Bruche, Adam Byrne, Sharon Carney, Julia Coffey, James Cook, Bill Cookson, Mike Cox, Alexander Cryer, Paul Cullinan, Leah Cuthbertson, Jane Davies, Charlotte Dean, Stephen Durham, Katia De Filippo, Daphne De-Vries, Charlotte Dodson, Neil Dufton, Stephen Durham, Dorte Faust, Anastasia Filia, Lisa Gregory, Uta Griesenbach, Ruth Grychtol,  Alice Halliday, Sian Harding, James Harker, Yen Ho, Phill James, Jill Johnson, Miland Joshi, Jenny Keegan, Heather Lambie, Su-lin Lee, Clare Lloyd, Anura Malaweera, Verdiana Martello, Karen McCarthy, Jane Mitchell, Miriam Moffat, Nura Mohammed, Liz Moore, Ann Morgan, James Moss, Hebah Nashat, Michela Noseda, Peter Openshaw, Lourdes Osuna Almagro, Jeremy Parker, Robert Parker, Mark Paul-Clark, Teresa Peiro-Salvador, Stefan Piatek, Claire Poulet, Chloe Pyle, Kamila Pytel, Jenni Quint, Sara Rankin, Andia Redpath, Polly Robinson, Ryan Robinson, Kieran Rothnie, Jess Rowley, Sejal Saglani, Anusha Seneviratne, Mo Shamji, Adi Sharanya, Anna Sharrock, Koval Smith, Lj Smith, Liz Starren, Tatiana Svermova, Andrew Thorley, Tosca Tindall, Mica Tolosa-Wright, Richard Toshner, Elena Turek, Faith Uwadiae Ruth Verstraten, Simone Walker, Carolyn Webb, Peter Wright, Suet-Ping Wong, Anna Zetterqvist

Shop Assistants: Joanna Blackburn, Emma Brown, Raghavendra Selvam

Photographers: Ellie Pinney, Thomas Angus

Filmmakers: James Edward Kilpatrick, Helen Johnson

Creative Producer: Ellen Dowell

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