New York Hall of Science Visit
I visited the New York Hall of Science today with Will, Alex, and Parvez. The Connected Worlds and Mathematica exhibits that we visited were very interesting to see. In some way, they were both showing ways to generating and interpreting data.
In Connected Worlds, the data that was being interpreted was the logs and people's gestures. The logs had infra-red sensors built into them so that the sensors would detect where they are to alter the flow of the water to different parts of the world. Kinect sensors were also used to interpret people's gestures. When people placed their hands out, seeds would generate above their hands. Different seeds would appear if a person held out their hand longer. The catch was that the worlds operated like any ecosystem.
The world would need water to support plants. Small plants would be available first. As these plants bring wildlife, different seeds could be planted to grow larger and different plants. I thought it was very interesting that this exhibit interpreted gestures and inanimate log objects as data to generate the visuals. This is a really cool way to gather and interpret data.
The second exhibit, Mathematica, was a bit more on the informational side and had less. This exhibit talked a lot more about applications of math for generation of patterns. The interactive display for what Kepler helped explain that the further away objects were from the pull of gravity, the slower their orbits would be. It was obvious as the balls were moving in circles. They moved slowly at first and gradually increased speed as they got closer to the hole in the center.
Another cool exhibit was the Multiplication Machine. This machine lights up the requisite number of bulbs when the input is pressed for its length, width, and height. I thought this was a really cool way to visualize data by user input to represent multiplication!
Overall, the trip was very enjoyable and I learned about different ways data is generated and visualized. As a bonus, we also had fun with optical illusions near the Mathematica exhibit. So here's a picture of the rare times where Will is taller than Alex.