A group of journalism students from UC Berkeley’s Knight Digital Media Center recently visited the Lawrence Hall of Science to film a fun video on the Augmented Reality Sandbox. The end of the clip really captures the joy many visitors experience when interacting with the exhibit. Thanks KDMC!
The Great Lakes Science Center (GLSC) hosted the 2014 LakeViz Advisory Board Meeting on May 29 in Cleveland, Ohio, next to beautiful Lake Erie. Joining the meeting were advisors Donna Cox (University of Illinois), John Baek (NOAA), Kate Haley-Goldman (Audience Viewpoints Consulting), and Val Davillier (Great Lakes Science Center).
Given that the LakeViz3D grant is in its third year and nearing completion, we asked the advisors to help distill the intellectual merits of the project accomplished to date and to identify synergistic activities and resources that could be used to carry the work into its next stage.
All advisors noted that the primary challenge faced by the project – applying research-grade tools and making data available for informal science education in science centers – is an important and common problem across scientific disciplines. For example, Advisor Cox relayed the long-term struggle of planetariums developing practitioner-friendly tools to visualize large astrophysical datasets.
During the discussion, the group identified a greater need to document the process of connecting research tools (and especially visualization tools) to end user, in an effort to make institutions embarking on such projects aware of the level of commitment needed to be successful, as well as the pitfalls they may encounter.
To make progress on this goal, advisors suggested (1) convening a museum consortium to identify and discuss the research tool to end-user process, common problems, and success stories and (2) developing decision trees and training documents to disseminate to the greater community. Accordingly, the LakeViz3D team has been working on documenting our process for designing and creating 3D visualizations for educational institutions. We are looking forward to sharing our work in an upcoming publication!
Besides the advisory board meeting, the LakeViz team also toured the Great Lakes Science Center and all of the wonderful exhibits it has to offer, including the ‘Great Lakes Story’ exhibit aboard the W.G. Mather. In addition, GLSC partners such as the Cleveland Water Alliance and Stone Laboratory inspired us with their work on sustainable development and freshwater field research education, respectively. We ended our trip with a fun biology activity, led by an educator from the Great Science Academy, a teen maker program at GLSC: we used laser-cut cardboard parts and LEDs to create DIY fish with biological adaptations of our own design.
We gratefully thank Advisor Val Devillier and Kirsten Ellenbogen, President of the Great Lakes Science Center for sharing their space and hosting the meeting.
The Lawrence Hall of Science (“the Hall”) staff has been busily preparing its Shaping Watersheds exhibit for prime time. The Hall shop staff did a wonderful job customizing and adding key modifications: re-locating the ‘Drain’ button for improved ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) access, adding a transparent lid and new frame to enable two modes of use (facilitated and unfacilitated), and adding a USB port in the former location of the original drain switch. The USB port allows a keyboard to be connected to access the computer within the cabinetry.
Over two days of formative evaluation, more than 300 guests at ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center previewed a new 3D guided tour of the Lake Champlain Basin. Nina Ridhibhinyo, ECHO’s group programs manager, guided these eager participants through space and time as part of a 25-minute 3D presentation on the history of dam development and flooding on the Winooski River. They explored Vermont’s wetlands and flood zones, delved into the historic floods of 1927 and 2011, and visited mills, hydroelectric, and flood control dams throughout Vermont.
This summer visitors to the Tahoe Environmental Research Center (TERC) will have the unique opportunity to “Go Jump in the Lake” without even getting wet. A new 3D movie, produced as part of the LakeViz project, will dive under the water’s surface to observe the different organisms that live in Lake Tahoe and to explore the physics that governs the lake habitat.
The movie, “Let’s Go Jump in the Lake,” will feature unique footage of Lake Tahoe and its inhabitants, all in 3D. Stunning time-lapse sequences show changes in the lake throughout the seasons. TERC divers have captured subsurface video that includes kokanee salmon spawning, the extent of invasive species such as watermilfoil and Asian clams, schools of native fish, and underwater research projects. For close-up shots of the animals that live in Lake Tahoe, TERC set up aquaria for fish, Mysis shrimp, and zooplankton such as Daphnia. Computer generated animations are used to illustrate concepts—such as lake mixing—that are difficult to capture on film.
Steve Andersen with Omnidual Media is filming and managing the post-production of the film. Since the movie will be presented in 3D, all the video equipment is specialized for the shoot. Steve has an arsenal of tools including several UAV’s (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) designed to carry two cameras for the challenging 3D aerial shots.