Hit Me! is a two player hyper-interactive, physical game that tests speed, agility and the ability to take good snapshots. Hit Me! utilizes technology to encourage face-to-face real-world interaction between players and also spectators.
Look for it this weekend at World Maker Faire, NYC.
Ah, nostalgic inventions from the Museum of Interesting Things
Rolling into World Maker Faire this weekend, The Museum of Interesting Things is a traveling interactive demonstration/exhibition of antiques and inventions inspiring innovation and creativity - learning from the past to create a better future. Their demonstrations are hands on and they bring items that show what inventions led to ipods and other items in our everyday lives. There are 8 departments that coincide with the curriculum in public schools as well as being fun and interesting for kids and adults! The departments are: Science, Math, Literature, Medical, Toys, Music, Household and Photography.
The Waterfall Swing is a 19’ tall steel swing set with a computer controlled interactive water plane, capable of making shapes and text. Using water released from solenoid valves, a plane is created in front of the swing rider, a sensor tells the machine the rider’s position as shapes and messages descend around the rider’s path.
Check out the Waterfall Swing this weekend at World Maker Faire, NYC.
NYSCI Explainer Demo showcase at World Maker Faire
Spills, thrills and scientific magic tricks is what you’ll see this weekend at World Maker Faire. The Rocket Park Stage in the NYSCI Village will be the hotspot to experience NYSCI Explainers performing their signature demo’s. These live demonstrations are a part of what makes the NYSCI brand of hands-on learning the best in the city.
Too hot at Maker Faire? Don't miss the Misting Tunnel
A winding “tunnel” that is keyhole shaped, when viewed from the end. The tunnel is constructed of PVC pipe which is bent into curved sections and assembled into a circle. The structure is equipped with water misting nozzles throughout the interior.
When the structure is fully charged with water (from a garden hose) a fine mist is emitted throughout the structure.
ArcAttack is a technology based performance art troupe from Austin, TX. While incorporating a large array of contraptions to aid their musical performance, they are best known as the pioneers of the “Singing Tesla coil”, a solid state Tesla coil that produces stage worthy electrical arcs that produce musical tones.
From high voltage stunts, musical composition, to technological oddities, ArcAttack's crew is host for a variety of different talents that work together to form a spectacle that is actually quite hard to describe. See for yourself this weekend at World Maker Faire, NYC.
RAMPS is a wheelchair DJ interface - the left wheel fades between tracks while the right wheel scratches the music. Users bring their existing wheelchair skills to the show, RAMPS detects the speed and direction of each wheel. The wheelchair becomes an interface to music, games and new computer interactions.
The maker, John Schimmel, is also heavily involved with NYSCI’s upcoming Human+ exhibition, and is developing an app with crowd-sourced data about in-depth accessibility features of places in our neighborhoods.
Check out the Wheelchair DJ this weekend at World Maker Faire, NYC.
Circus Warehouse presents a selection of high-flying arts
Circus Warehouse is Queens’ own center where the circus stars come to train and teach. With ceilings high enough to house a flying trapeze rig of classic proportion, the Warehouse has over 8000 square feet of space for practicing circus arts including trampoline, silks, lyra, cloud swing, solo trapeze and wire walking. It also houses a mirrored dance studio with a sprung floor.
Throughout Maker Faire weekend, Circus Warehouse will present a series of performances and opportunities for visitors to learn some of the basics of Nouveau Cirque.
It's a roboBrrd, it's a mini dog-cow, and yes, it's RobotGrrl!
What does a hockey playing humanoid with bad knee servos, a robot with a beak that eats virtual fruit, and a mini dog-cow on wheels have in common? The robot mesh network! RobotGrrl makes it all happen and she is inviting you along for the experience, this weekend at World Maker Faire, NYC.
It's true, the Sashimi Tabernacle Choir is a real thing
If you haven’t seen the Sashimi Tabernacle Choir, well, you should take a moment, right now…and…see it. Then, come to World Maker Faire this weekend in NYC and see it in person.
This award winning art car from Houston has 250 electromechanical singing fish and lobsters, 300 pounds of batteries, a Linux netbook to coordinate all the singers, and more than 5 miles of wire in the control system. “Quiet please, this is serious.”
Onyx Ashanti is the creator of Beatjazz and the Beatjazz control system, an open source musical performance platform that combines motion, improvisation, beats and light into a never before realized form of artistic expression.
From post-it notes and highlighter pens, to color-coded staff calendars, Nancy Schenk utilizes color to help organize her tasks as executive assistant to our president and CEO, Margaret Honey. At night, Nancy uses color in a more creative way – to create her traditional rug hooking projects.
For the past six years, Nancy has been creating rugs of various sizes using rug hooking, a traditional craft where rugs are made by pulling fabric, ribbons or yarn through a base such as burlap. One of the most important steps in the process is choosing the fabric to be used in the rug.
“You don’t know how the colors and patterns are going to turn out in the end,” said Nancy. “You can guess what it will look like, but until you actually work on the rug, you don’t really know. That’s one of the things I like about rug hooking.”
Nancy will display about a half dozen of her rug creations at this year’s World Maker Faire, a two-day event celebrating creativity and innovation in everything from knitting to robotics. Nancy’s rug hooking projects will be on display at our Science Technology Library and will include two rugs made from patterns that she designed herself.
World Maker Faire takes place at NYSCI on September 17 and 18. If you’re the forgetful type, write the date on a yellow post-it note and stick it on your fridge!
It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s … a man walking around with metal wings
Most kids dream of being a superhero when they grow up. Adiel Fernandez, science instructor at NYSCI, gets to be one for two days this month.
Or at least he’ll look like one, thanks to his project Metal Wings, which he built for this year’s World Maker Faire. Inspired by X-Men superhero Archangel, the aircraft-grade aluminum wings have a wingspan of 12 feet and are mechanically controlled by motors. These motors, or more technically “servos”, will be connected to special gloves he has created that will allow him to open and close the multiple segments of the wings just by moving his fingers, giving the illusion that the wings are moving on their own. The beating of the wings will also be linked to Adiel’s heartbeat, although that aspect of the project may not be ready in time for the Faire.
Adiel came up with the idea for the project about a year ago when his brother showed him photos from a comic book convention. “Archangel is such an interesting character,” said Adiel. “His wings are so unique and different from any other winged superhero or villain. I can’t believe no one has tried to put together a set of wings like his.”
Although he has been “making” since he was a small child (he often took his toys apart to see how they worked), the Metal Wings project included some relatively new territory for Adiel: microcontrollers and metalworking. But in true Maker spirit, he tackled the project anyways.
Check out Adiel’s wings along with projects from more than 500 other Makers (all superheroes in our book!) at this year’s World Maker Faire, which will be held at NYSCI on September 17 and 18.
Not many people can say they’ve hooked up with the four elements, but NYSCI Librarian Rebecca Reitz is working towards doing just that.
Wielding only a crochet hook, Rebecca will use yarn, beads, seashells and other decorative items to create her fiber art piece EARTH.AIR.FIRE.WATER. The first part of the project will focus on Earth and will be displayed at World Maker Faire, a two-day festival celebrating the do-it-yourself movement.
Rebecca’s EARTH project was inspired by a recent vacation in the Adirondacks. Using yarn with various hues of greens and browns, and lots of improvisation (inventing the patterns as she crochets), she has created afghan squares of various Earth-themed subjects, which will be exhibited at World Maker Faire.
“I like reinterpreting the world in crochet – a medium I love,” said Rebecca. “People find a form of expression that best suits their character, and I found crochet.”
Since she was a teenager, Rebecca has been crocheting a variety of items including hats, scarves, blankets and even some molecule-inspired jewelry. At last year’s Faire, she presented three-dimensional, crocheted mushrooms attached to real pieces of wood. And NYSCI’s Science Technology Library displays some of her yarn-bombing work year-round.
To learn more about her art, hook up with Rebecca at World Maker Faire, which will be held at NYSCI on September 17 and 18.
At this year’s World Maker Faire, event organizers and Faire-goers alike will be hoping for warm days with sunny skies. But one Maker will be cheering on the wind.
Karl Szilagi, NYSCI exhibit technician, will be presenting his project, Listen to the Wind at this year’s Faire. Comprised of 30 kites of various sizes attached to one main line, Listen to the Wind showcases the sound a kite string makes when it’s under tension. The sound created by the kites will be amplified and transmitted to a pair of headphones, which will be available to Faire-goers. Karl hopes that his project inspires people to think more deeply about the seemingly simple act of flying a kite:
“I would like visitors to take away from the experience an understanding of how the humming of a kite string can reveal powerful forces at work that are often inaudible and otherwise invisible.”
Karl became interested in kites in the late 1980s after seeing several people flying kites high in the air in Central Park. He then started creating his own kites and has since built approximately 1,500 kites, although this is his first kite involving sound.
So what exactly does a kite sound like? Find Karl at World Maker Faire to find out!
NY Waterway Contamination, From the Outside Looking In
Guest blogger Erin Schneider, NYSCI intern and graduate student in Environmental Geo-science at Queens College, writes about her recent experience on board the R. Ian Fletcher, a research vessel that regularly conducts water quality testing on New York’s waterways.
“You see those green signs,” John Lipscomb, Captain of the R. Ian Fletcher, the Riverkeeper patrol boat, pointed towards the shore. “That indicates a CSO. There are 460 CSO’s in New York City that dump about 30 billion gallons of sewage into our waterways annually.” The recent fires at the Combined Sewage Overflow units in Harlem and Ossining have been a benchmark for Riverkeeper’s initiative of public awareness of this local health issue. “We got immediate media coverage,” Lipscomb explained, “because people were upset over the 250 million gallons being let in after the fire in Harlem.” What many don’t realize, however, is that every time it rains, raw sewage is being dumped into the Hudson and other rivers by way of these CSO’s.
As a native New Yorker, I was horrified to not only learn about the regular occurrence of the introduction of raw sewage into our waterways, but also to see the many public access sites they are located at. There was even one stop we made along our journey that has an underwater pipe pumping a plume of sewage upward. Cruising down the river, bordered with lush green trees, waterfront houses, parks and other hidden wonders, we passed families playing in the water and men and women fishing off docks only yards away from actively flowing CSO’s. Although the river can be quite clean in many places, unfortunately, there are other locations frequently exposed to high levels of contamination. Yet the public doesn’t seem to be adequately informed. What’s more unsettling, is that while locals are using these waterways for recreational use, we were taking precautionary measures, using gloves to keep the water off our skin, or alcohol to clean our hands if they did contact the water.
In light of the fire in the CSO on 125th in Manhattan, there have been tremendous breakthroughs with the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), and their agreement to make their data publicly available in a timely fashion. Additional water quality sampling took place immediately following the fire, conducted by both the DEP and Riverkeeper, in collaboration with Queens College and Columbia University, the data of which differed greatly. While the DEP announced that the majority of their water samples contained Enterococcus within the acceptable EPA guidelines of 104 cells of Entero per 100 milliliters of water, they originally failed to state that their water samples were being collected in the middle of the river. Riverkeeper took samples in both the middle of the river and in the near-shore environment, and found that contrary to the reports by the DEP, the concentrations near the discharge points ranged from 132 to 104,620 per 100 milliliters (click here for locations and Riverkeeper data reports). The Riverkeeper patrol boat, which is complete with a lab on deck for the processing and analyzing samples collected at locations, makes regular stops to sites along the East and Hudson rivers, the Gowanus and through a channel in Williamsburg.
Having the privilege of joining the Riverkeeper, it became even more obvious to me just how crucial these studies are to increasing the public’s awareness of how our environment is being affected. It was bitter-sweet to experience New York from the water looking into the city, passing so many of New York’s beautiful iconic buildings, piers and neighborhoods along our journey, to then witness that almost unbeknownst to us, these same sites are being subjected to raw sewage contamination. I gained a new appreciation for my home state, and these research efforts that will hopefully continue to positively affect the exposition of these environmental and health issues.
It was hot but breezy, and the smell was indeed almost sweet. But there was nothing lovely about the raw sewage that pipes there discharged into the Hudson River — some 120 million gallons a day — from Wednesday to Friday night, when the plant returned to treating sewage.
For her summer project, Explainer Jade Johnson wanted to get involved in an archaeology project. But finding a cliff dwelling to excavate—that’s a little hard to do in Queens.
So Jade set out for Colorado’s Crow Canyon Archaeological Center in the Mesa Verde region, home to ancestral Pueblo Indians. Sometimes referred to as the Anasazi, the ancient Pueblo people are best known for the dwellings they built high along cliff walls.
Jade learned about ancient Pueblo history and helped with basic archaeological fieldwork, including excavating and cataloging artifacts. Much of the fieldwork took place at the Dillard Site, Crow Canyon’s current excavation, with visits to the Mesa Verde National Park, a U.S. National Park—created to protect the Pueblo cliff dwellings.
Jade documented her experience with a blog post and web video.
“It is amazing to see what was built in the canyons considering how difficult it must have been to carry materials in and out of them everyday,” said Jade, referring to the Mesa Verde region where she conducted research. “Places like this are rare and I hope I can visit again someday.”
Sewage routinely contaminates the Hudson River, according to a report released on Tuesday after four years of water testing in which one-fifth of the water samples indicated that the river was unsuitable for swimming and other recreation.
The study, issued by the environmental group Riverkeeper, underscores how a big sewage discharge in July, caused by a fire at a treatment plant in Manhattan, was part of a persistent and far more widespread sewage problem along the 155-mile river.
After coming under fire for a lack of information about water quality in city rivers, the Department of Environmental Protection is designing an alert system which would issue warnings whenever it dipped.
Last week, we travelled together with our families to the New York Hall of Science, in Queens, where Charles and Ray Eames’s Mathematica exhibit, originally created for IBM in the 1960s, is on permanent display. It’s a masterpiece of lo-fi installation design, not a screen to be found, just clear, hands-on exhibits that illustrate concepts with creativity and without pandering.
The day after our visit, my daughter wanted to return.
SciPlay & Joan Ganz Cooney Center @ Sesame Workshop ebook study sign-up
SciPlay is teaming up with the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop for a research study on how families with children ages 3 – 5 choose books to read together. If you’re interested in participating, please fill out the survey at the link below, and then come out to the New York Hall of Science on August 25 or 26!
Children will receive a small Sesame Street gift for participating:
How do you get someone excited about the technology behind a computer processor? By breaking it down into smaller parts. Literally.
NYSCI’s Deconstruction Zone at last year’s World Maker Faire was so popular with kids and adults that it is being brought back for this year’s festival, which will be held on September 17 and 18. With screwdrivers and pliers, kids and adults at the 2010 World Maker Faire took apart computer and electronic equipment with a goal of, well, to take apart computer and electronic equipment. And they had a blast doing it. Clearly someone forgot to tell them that it was a form of science education.
In this age of standardized tests, rote memorization, and textbooks, it’s easy to see why most students dread their science and math classes. Where, really, is the fun in traditional science and math education? But taking apart electronics? Now, that sounds fun!
And having fun can lead to a deeper exploration of the sciences. In a recent PBS Newshour show, Dale Dougherty, editor and publisher of Make magazine and founder of Maker Faire, said
“I see making as a gateway to engineering and science. When I talk to engineers and scientists, I can ask them, what fascinated you as a kid? And someone said, well, you know, I used to take refrigerators apart.”
World Maker Faire has hundreds of these kind of fun opportunities for visitors. The two-day event brings together hundreds of “Makers” who show off their inventions and encourage visitors to become Makers themselves and to create, build and invent. In the process, they show us the “fun” in science, technology and math. When you see trendy people with their cool inventions, suddenly science and technology doesn’t seem so boring or geeky anymore. And when you get to invent your own cool products, a career choice in the sciences seems not only possible, but appealing.
NYSCI has been exploring ways to harness the spirit of “making” to increase interest in the sciences. NYSCI and Maker Faire staff worked to ensure that the inaugural World Maker Faire included a large range of activities for children and families. And after the festival, NYSCI hosted a two-day workshop with more than 80 leaders in education, science, technology and the arts to explore how the Maker movement can stimulate innovation in education.
This year’s Faire will be even bigger than last year, with hundreds of additional Makers and even more activities for children and families. And more opportunities to show kids and adults, that science is fun—whether or not you keep your computer in one piece.
For the past few weeks, NYSCI Explainers have been learning how to design and pitch a mobile application that would support one of the exhibits on the museum floor. On Tuesday, the four groups presented their app ideas to the President of NYSCI, Margaret Honey, and senior exhibit staff, of which one group was to be selected to get their app professionally developed and placed on the market. Congratulations to the “BioHatchers” group who won the competition!
Interesting article about what’s happening in 2011 of DIY and the Maker Movement … a great intro to this years World Maker Faire:
About a year ago, I wrote a weekly post at Wired’s Gadget Lab called “DIY Friday.” The first story was about MintyBoost, a USB charger made from AA batteries and an Altoids tin, devised by Adafruit’s Limor Fried. That was what DIY/maker hardware news mostly looked like in the last week of August 2010.
Now, let’s look at the first week of August in 2011:
MakerFaire Detroit, sponsored by Ford, Pepsi and Microsoft as well as Etsy, Boing Boing and O’Reilly, gently wound down after officially closing July 31, featuring everything from giant Halloween displays to sewing tutorials to tiny children on crazy leaf-blower go-karts. I wish I’d been there.
Microsoft presented a handful of proof-of-concept projects for its .NET Gadgeteer, a competitor to Arduino that likewise promises easy-to-build open-source hardware gadgets using Microsoft’s .NET framework and Visual Studio/Visual C# Express. (Thisminiature arcade cabinet looks awesome.)
GE launched a Facebook campaign targeting DIY makers to share designs for model aircraft and an airport, using 3D printers from the revered independent MakerBot.
MakerBot got some more competition in the field of inexpensive, easy-to-build-and-use home 3D printers: Ponoko featured the UP! printer on their blog (which comes helpfully pre-assembled), whileMAKE featured Ultimaker, which touts its speed. “This is what happens when you do something that’s successful,” MakerBot’s Bre Pettis said. “Other people figure it out, too, and start businesses. More 3D printers are good.”
Animals are a part of our daily lives. Whether you wake up to see your dog holding his leash in his mouth, hear birds chirping outside your window, or have a squirrel steal a bite of your food when you’re not looking, you share your space with animals. But do animals think, or are they governed only by instinct?
Creating Wild Minds has been a large undertaking, involving many people and institutions. The project’s development team includes Diana Reiss from Hunter College’s Department of Psychology, who is best known for her work on mirror self-recognition among dolphins and elephants; and John Fraser, a conservation psychologist and educator currently serving as Director of the Institute for Learning Innovation’s New York office. Partner institutions include the Staten Island Zoo, the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, the Oregon Zoo, the California Science Center, Santa Barbara Zoo, Science Central, Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo, COSI (Center of Science and Industry), and the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.
Programming planned for Wild Minds will include NYSCI-style hands-on, do-it-yourself activities that you can try with animals in and around your home. What do you think your pet will think of that?
Queens kids got up close and personal with some mythical creatures at Dragon Boat Family Day at the New York Hall of Science (NYSCI) on Saturday, July 16.
“Children are the future of the competition, so it is important to involve them with the Dragon Boats while they are young,” said Henry Wan, chairman for the Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival (HKDBF), which will be held on Meadow Lake on August 13 and 14. “We are a family event and we look forward to seeing all of these kids at the festival.”
An actual Dragon Boat held center stage in NYSCI’s Great Hall and children marveled at the 40-foot long teak boat. Expert rowers and amateur athletes were also in attendance, passing their knowledge onto the next generation of racers.
Studying E-Books at the New York Hall of Science by Zachary Levine | Jul 18, 2011, published in The Cooney Center Blog.
Just over a week ago, I had the pleasure of assisting members of the Cooney Center staff in a two-day research study at the New York Hall of Science (NYSCI) in Queens, NY. The study, conducted in corroboration with NYSCI, focused on the interaction between children (ages 3-5) and their caregivers when reading two different science books: one regular book and one on the iPad. Would the iPad serve as a distraction to children or would it actually promote as much parent-child conversation and interaction as the print book?
In order to answer these important questions, the children and their caregivers were asked a series of questions after each book was finished as well as at the end of the session. In theory, the research study seemed like a fantastic idea but you can never be certain until you try it out in the field. So, off we went to Queens. When we arrived at NYSCI for the study, Dr. David Kanter, who is founding director of SciPlay, warmly welcomed us. (SciPlay, formally known as The Sara Lee Schupf Family Center for Play, Science, and Technology Learning, was launched in 2010 as a design and research center fpr teaching children about science through play.) He then brought us to the Preschool Place, where we would be conducting our study. I was assigned the job of recruiting and signing up families for the study—a worthy job for a first time researcher! As families starting pouring into the museum I thought that recruiting would be a piece of cake. Boy was I wrong!
The main problem seemed to be that both the parents and their children didn’t want to sit down and read two books. They either didn’t have enough time or the kids refused. After all, a science museum with cool gadgets and a mini golf course is kind of hard to compete with! Nevertheless, once I got people to sign up for the study, everything went pretty smoothly thanks to the Cooney Center’s great research staff. Of course, a few families walked out in the middle of the study because their child couldn’t sit still, but overall, most families were very cooperative. In addition, I found that this type of research really excited a lot of families and many even asked us to put them on our mailing list so that they could see the study when it was finished. In the coming weeks we will be reviewing the results of the study and I think they will be quite fascinating. We hope to share them soon! I want to give a special thanks to Dr. David Kanter, Alice Stevenson, and the staff at the New York Hall of Science for their help at the museum. It was truly the perfect setup.
When you think of a coach, images of push-ups and laps around the track may come to mind. At NYSCI, our coach doesn’t carry a whistle or make you do jumping jacks, but she will help you think differently about science.
Jasmine Maldonado has been a Science Coach Specialist at NYSCI since 2007. She provides teachers with different approaches for their science lessons.
“The NYSCI approach is more hands-on and inquiry-based as opposed to just teaching out of a textbook,” says Jasmine. “We encourage teachers to ask their students questions that require explanations, not just yes or no answers.”
As a Science Coach Specialist, Jasmine is an integral contributor to The Partnership for Inner-City Education, which works to improve science education at Catholic schools in New York City. Jasmine visits schools new to the program on a weekly basis and checks on existing schools on a biweekly basis.
Since it’s start in 2007, the program has worked with approximately 100 teachers and 3,000 students. Participating schools have seen increased use of the school’s science labs, an increase in hands-on and inquiry-based science teaching across the grades, increased student participation in regional science and technology competitions, and improved state science exam scores.
Interest in the program is high. Two more schools were just added to the program during the 2010 – 2011 school year, with more expected next year. Due to demand, NYSCI is hoping to expand by bringing on another Science Coach Specialist.
In a study looking at the efficacy of the coaching model, The Partnership for Inner-City Education stated:
"NYSCI’s work with our schools has transformed the way science is being taught. Students are so engaged during and inspired by their science classes that they are dreaming about pursuing careers in science. The teachers are highly motivated by the children’s enthusiasm and want to continue to expand their knowledge in this subject."
Learn about dragon boats, test your strength and race on rowing machines, experience traditional Chinese dances including a Lion Dance, watch kung fu masters perform Chinese martial arts, and decorate a lion mask to take home.
A 40-foot-long dragon boat will be on display. This dragon boat will be participating in the boat races of the annual Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival in New York in Flushing Meadows Corona Park.
Dragon Boat competitors from all over the North East coast will be manning these ”ergometer” machines that have been modified to have paddles, and are hooked up to large display screens so visitors can race against each other.