The SPARK (Science Play and Research Kit) Competition is requesting submissions for what they are calling “Reimagining the Chemistry Set of the 21st Century.”
To be clear, we’re interested in science beyond chemistry. We borrow this term to capture the spirit and magic of what the classic chemistry set spawned in the 1940s – 60s. We’re looking for ideas that can engage kids as young as 8 and inspire people who are 88. We’re looking for ideas that encourage kids to explore, create, build and question. We’re looking for ideas that honor kids’ curiosity about how things work.
We’ve delved into that spirit with our posts on Vintage Chemistry Manuals and Vintage Chemistry Sets. We also see it in our community in groups like Public Lab, with projects like Thermal Photography. It is exciting to see this contest trying to promote that spark of curiosity. Submissions are due in January, and we’re looking forward to seeing the winners when they’re announced in February. In the meantime, we would like to hear what you want to see in science kits for the future.
Now that Halloween is over, what should you do with all of your leftover Halloween candy? From the archives— make them into fridge magnets!
Matt commented on our Snap-O-Lantern kit:
I took the more DIY model and built a LEGO Snap-O-Lantern.
Gabe Hoffmann wrote in:
I heard you on Science Friday talking about halloween, went home and looked on your website at Snap-O-Lanterns, and was inspired. I added a phototransistor and infrared LEDs to make a motion sensing small pumpkin that can try to bite you.
Thanks for sharing your project, Gabe!
If you built a Snap-O-Lantern or were inspired by any of our Halloween projects, we’d love to see your photos in our flickr group.
Mike Pucher writes on twitter:
@EMSL I used my #eggbot to make a pumpkin for my wife who is a CPA. There’s a first time for everything- even this.
More about using the Eggbot for halloween here.
Here are a few of the robots in attendance at BarBot 2013:
Schrödinger’s Martini, in which the amount of vermouth is indeterminate until box is opened and the drink observed.
Thinbot, pouring impeccably mixed drinks with style.
Manhattan Project and Mai Tai Project.
Outta Time, with a new LED lit control panel.
Tipsy Bot, using Legos to tip ingredients into your glass.
Our very own Drink Making Unit 2.1.
SW500 500SW (5:00 Somewhere) became affectionately known as Drink Drink Revolution or Dance Dance Intoxication. It judged your dancing skills and served you a drink thematically appropriate to your style.
Santa Barbot mixes drinks with super soaker components.
Not all the robots were serving drinks, and this lampshade-wearing robot seemed like it may have had a few too many.
No party is complete without R2D2, who wasn’t being used as a roving drink tray, since there were plenty of other robots to serve the humans.
Updated Nov. 9 to correct 500SW’s name.
The first night of Barbot is over, but there’s still one more night to go! Drink Making Unit 2.1 made a successful first public debut. Its “Vodka” switch was a hit, and it was perhaps the only bot that was able to pour non-alcoholic beverages. We managed to get a few pictures from the event before it got too crowded and have published them in a flickr set. Shown above is the control panel for Outta Time, illuminated with some of our very own LEDs.
Tickets for tonight’s event (ages 21+) are still available.
Our Traveling Exhibition of Modern Art group costume was featured on the PBS Newshour Art Blog in an article about art themed costumes. Other art costumes highlighted included Lichtenstein, Banksy, Maggrite, and Munch.
We’re big fans of Voronoi diagrams, and use them in StippleGen so it’s awesome to see them in 3D printed pumpkins this Halloween season. Voronoi Pumpkin #1 shown above is available through Shapeways, along with the equally creatively named Voronoi Pumpkin #2. There’s also a Voronoi Jack-o-Lantern on Ponoko, and more even more Voronoi Pumpkins on Thingiverse.
We just got an advance copy of The Art of Tinkering, by our friends at the Tinkering Studio at the Exploratorium.
On their own, science, art, and technology all make for interesting, fun, and rewarding explorations. But when you mix them together, you get a veritable tinkering trifecta in which technological tools and scientific principles let you express your own artistic vision.
We flipped through the wonderful pictures and projects before we took it to the bench for some quick pictures. In the spirit of the book, we put it among a few tools and parts from recently photographed projects that were still on the table.
We found projects by some of our friends, including Ken Murphy, Jie Qi and AnnMarie Thomas. We’re excited that we have a few projects in the book, including our Circuitry Snacks, in a section on Surprising Circuits. The book itself incorporates some circuitry on the cover, which we hope to play with soon!
The book launch party will be at the Exploratorium Afterdark (ages 18+) event on November 7.