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New York Hall of Science - Connections

SOMERVILLE, MA., Feb 21, 2005 - TechnoFrolics lent their flair for innovative technology to several new exhibits which recently went on display at the New York Hall of Science.

Interactive Power Grid

As part of a segment called Connections: The Nature of Networks, TechnoFrolics contributed an Interactive Electric Power Grid which simulates the conditions which caused the August 2003 power outage that left U.S. regions from Detroit to New York, and parts of Eastern Canada, in the dark.

The purpose of the Power Grid is to help museum visitors understand the method by which electrical power is routed from generating station to final loads, and to allow them to explore the effect of downed transmission lines on such a system.

Current flows through a network of conductors, leaving the power station via three parallel transmission lines, and branching out to several "city" loads. "Visitors can break transmission line 1, 2, or both, and see the current flow redistribute in the grid," TechnoFrolics' director David Durlach explains. "If they break just 1 or 2, the cities stay lit. If they break both, the 3rd line overloads and shuts down, causing the cities to all go black."

High-Definition (HD) Split Screen
FrameGlide/Spin Browser Video Explorer

TechnoFrolics also put their innovative Spin Browser technology to work on a High Definition (HD) comparative-view unit which displays different pairings of animal behavior.

A control panel consisting of an array of buttons allows the user to select a pairing of images, from fish schooling to caribou stampeding to children frolicking on a playground. In contrast with the Power Grid, this exhibit illustrates biological networks existing in nature. The split screen construction lets visitors observe and compare how different animal groups (including humans) evidence high-level patterns based solely on responses to their neighbors' behavior, rather than following any sort of macroscopic design. In other words, individuals following local rules show global patterns.

An adjunct FrameGlide/Spin Browser video explorer shows a herd of gazelle and a swarm of bees, further demonstrating this same principle. The video for both exhibits was produced by RBH Multimedia of New York, NY.

Search For Life Beyond Earth

Another segment, named World of Water: The Search For Life Beyond Earth, illustrates how water is a part of all life. Further, it suggests where there is water, there might be life, opening speculation about the presence of extraterrestrial life in the universe. For this exhibit, TechnoFrolics contributed another Spin Browser video explorer which depicts the potency of water through a series of striking images, including fish in a stream being eaten by bear, snowflakes forming and freezing, raindrops striking a pond, and most spectacularly, glacial chunks falling into the sea. The video content was compiled by Chedd-Angier of Watertown, MA.

Colleagues and Acknowledgements

The Connections exhibit was organized by Eric Siegel, Executive Vice President for Programs and Plannings at the New York Hall of Science, and Director of the Connections project. "TechnoFrolics delivered a rock-solid, very creative solution for a series of complicated educational interactives," Siegel said. "David worked with us from concept through installation, and the pieces he created have been very popular and effective." The Search for Life was conducted by Martin Weiss, Director of Biology. The Power Grid and the three Spin Brower units were designed in conjunction with Jeff Kennedy Associates of Somerville, MA. The case fabrication was by Design Craftsmen, Midland, MI.