A new reality
Spanning March to May, Imagination Lab’s latest theme ‘reality’, in partnership with Rolls-Royce, is exploring children’s capacity to create and engineer ideas.
When Neil Armstrong set foot on the lunar surface on July 21 1969, and expressed his step as a “giant leap for mankind”, he represented the dreamers, scientists, engineers, mathematicians and designers who made the fantasy of space travel and a lunar landing, a reality.
The small steps and giant leaps are symbolic for children today. The tools and connectivity that children have access to now are unprecedented. Arguably the computing power of today’s smartphone, that sit snuggly in our pockets, have more computing power than NASA had in 1969 for the Apollo 11 Mission.
Our current theme ‘reality’ is recognising the importance of the past, opening up the tools now available in the present and looking ahead to the future. Working with Rolls-Royce, we are marrying STEM (science, technology, engineering, maths) with arts and design, to provide a multidisciplinary lab environment for children to think without boundaries.
In our ‘tinker zone’ we are exploring the beginnings of mechanics and automation through cardboard automata, motors and aerodynamics. This tactile zone acknowledges the importance of real objects and materials and the significance of our hands in the process of making and creating new things. The ‘creative zone’ looks at how objects and children’s ideas can go from 2D to 3D using simple software like Tinkercad then demonstrating micro manufacturing with the Lab’s 3D printer.
In the ‘future zone’ our lab takes a glimpse into the tools we may be using to engineer in the coming years. Using the HTC Vive Virtual Reality headset, children are exploring engines in a virtual environment like Rolls-Royce’s Trent 1000. We have been working with Google Expeditions to help explain the mechanics of virtual reality and we have been using Cospaces to allow participants to create content that can be viewed through a cardboard headset.
The theme culminates on 1 May when we will be holding our ‘lab live’, our large scale event with over 800 visitors and a broad range of activities to engage with including a supersonic car, augmented reality headsets, drones, 3D design and much more.