Who is MetroMan?When we took a swipe at interviewing him, we were treated to tales of spelunking in abandoned subway tunnels, exploring dis-used steam generators and repelling down empty nuclear missile silos. Turns out, the journey is more fun than the destination!
LetsMakeRobots will demonstrate the Yellow Drum Machine (YDM), as well as other robots by their members. The YDM is a funky little drumbot. It roams around and makes beats, and samples. They’ll also have some fun projects for you to try yourself!
Simple Bots is the awesome new eBook that teaches you how to make a bunch of fun and easy bots in no time. This book is written with the beginner in mind and no prior knowledge of robotics is necessary.
Coke Zero + Mentos = A hot mess of viral fountains
See the original Internet sensation LIVE! Geysers of soda shoot over twenty feet into the air in this spectacular mint-powered version of the Bellagio Fountains, brought to you by the mad scientists of EepyBird. EepyBird has been featured on Late Night with David Letterman, Ellen, the Today Show, and Mythbusters, and they were named Best of 2006 by People Magazine. Their online videos have won two Webby Awards and received two Emmy nominations.
The Life Size Mousetrap is a fantastically hand crafted, 16 piece, 50,000-lb. interactive kinetic sculpture set atop a 6,500-square-foot game board. This giant Rube Goldberg style contraption comes complete with a Vaudevillian style show, original Musical score by the one woman band Esmerelda Strange, Sexy Mice can-can dancers, clown workers, acrobatic hi jinks, and other spectacular scenes dedicated to the pursuit of spectacle-laden fun!
To capture the extraordinary, first-of-a-kind footage in Tornado Alley, director Sean Casey not only had to learn how to enter a tornado, he had to design a vehicle that could take him there. It was a tricky proposition, considering tornadoes have the power to pick up locomotives and hurl cars through the air-carrying them over distances of up to a mile. In 2002, Casey sketched out a design (which, he says, looked “remarkably similar to the spaceships I drew when I was twelve”), taught himself how to weld, and, that summer, work on the original tornado intercept vehicle began. The TIV, as it is known, was built for one express purpose: to house and shuttle Casey’s camera (he and his crew call it “an armored tripod on wheels”). He created a military-style filming turret, inside of which he maneuvers much like a tank gunner, only he’s shooting film instead of ammunition and his range is 360 degrees. Featured prominently in the film Tornado Alley, TIV 2 weighs 14,000 pounds and has a top speed of over 100 mphâ€”not bad, but still a little sluggish if you’re being chased by an EF5 tornado.
The Handcar Projects are a series of human-powered interactive installations centered around the railway handcar. The projects from Treia Studios focus on energy, industrial processes, agriculture, mining, and their impact on topsoil and water.
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.