22 June – 10 July 2020
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It’s so cool when technology leverages a kids curiosity

Kids learn more effectively when they’re allowed to explore things on their own and that’s precisely why an interactive giant waterfall, called Connected Worlds,  at the New York Hall of Science looks so cool.

Connected Worlds, is a cutting-edge installation that aims to teach youngsters about environmental science by immersing them in it. It’s an interactive simulation big enough to walk around inside—virtual reality that’s not piped into a headset but projected onto a real physical space.

Kids can shape the environment through a clever combination of physical and digital interaction. The waterfall sits between two walls, which stretch out into the museum’s cavernous Great Hall like a giant’s arms moving in for a hug. Projected on the walls, and on the floor between them, is a lush virtual world comprising different ecosystems, all dependent on water from the towering falls. When a kid standing in a particular ecosystem puts her hand to the wall, a Kinect mounted above the space triggers a projector, which makes a digital seed materialize above the youngster’s palm. She can opt to grow a small plant, which doesn’t require much water, or a large tree, which does. To make sure the ecosystem is getting the resources it needs, she must route water from the falls and other sources by arranging giant foam logs on the floor. As kids elsewhere plant their own flora, the water demands of the different areas change dynamically.

Now to see how I can incorporate this same approach into our computer camps.

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