THE ROBOT ZOO (5,000 sf) Interactives
Robot Body Shop – As an introduction to the exhibit, drum-mounted machine parts allow visitors to manipulate some of the mechanical devices they will see used to construct the robots, such as hinges, pumps, springs and shock absorbers.
Chameleon Activity Stations – Visitors get to control the giant robotic chameleon. At the three different stations, one can change its color, move its body, head, eyes and tongue. Chameleons change color for two reasons, to hide from an enemy or to attract or scare another chameleon.
Keep an Eye on You – The robot model of a chameleon’s head shows how the real reptile views the world: through eyes that work independently. As visitors move each of the robot’s eyes with a joystick, they can see on two color monitors the separate images the robot’s eyes “see.”
Tongue Gun – Triggering the Tongue Gun demonstrates how a real chameleon shoots out its long, sticky-tipped tongue to reel in a meal. Sharpshooters use a joystick to aim the head of a robot chameleon, then press a button to fire its long tongue at one of several insect targets.
Hide and Seek – Children can blend in like a chameleon. Wearing a coat that matches a wall in the background, kids can watch themselves appear and disappear on a video monitor as they move back and forth in front of the wall.
Mister Platypus – Children of all ages can build a platypus or their own whimsical creature by adding different animal parts, such as an alligator’s tail or an elephant’s trunk, to the model of a platypus’ body.
Hear’s Seeing You! – This activity demonstrates echolocation–a bat’s sonar system for hunting prey at night. When visitors aim a robot bat’s head at insect targets, a digital display reveals the distance to each bug.
Hang Time – With a timer children try to see how long they can hang like a bat by their hands from an overhead bar.
Jet Propelled – All ages can pump air into a squid model and propel it up a tube to simulate the high-speed swim of a giant squid. The real creature sucks water into its body and squirts the water out a small tube under its head, shooting away backwards at up to 20 miles per hour.
Stuck on You – To understand what a giant squid does with its suckers, kids can throw rubber sucker balls at a board and play with other objects that stick, such as bathroom plungers and gloves covered with sucker pads.
Eye to Eye – Visitors can stand behind a 5-foot-tall cutout of a house fly and get a fly’s-eye view through two 19-inch compound eyes. A real house fly can’t see fine details unless it’s up close, but its eyes (each with about 4,000 six-sided lenses) can detect even the slightest movement in all directions.
Swat the Fly – This activity tests participants’ reaction time (about one-twelfth as fast as a house fly’s). Children use their hands to “swat” the backlit image of each fly as it randomly flashes.
Sticky Feet – Kids wearing special hand pads can try to stick like flies to a sloping surface.
TORTOISE (no robot counterpart)
Tortoise Track – Even the youngest children can try on a tortoise shell and see how it feels to “race” like a turtle around a track. Wearing numbered shells, other kids can join in a race to the finish line.