MagneticPlay (New York Hall of Science)

*collaboration with Melissa Clarke and Christine Qnguyen

*photography by Shimpei Takeda

*Exhibition at ITP, New York City Maker Faire 2010.

Magnetic Play is an interactive exhibit about the magnetic principles of attraction and repulsion that is being designed for the New York Hall of Science. The exhibit consists of 5 different activities meant to emphasize the principles of attraction and repulsion while appealing to the different learning styles of museum visitors.  This exhibit is currently in it’s prototyping phase.

SandTable: An open-ended activity that encourages participants to stretch their imagination using magnetic attraction to create sand designs or play collaborative games.

TriMags: TriMags are triangular building blocks with each side assigned a magnetic pole. This allows the principles of attraction and repulsion to be explored. By attempting to adhere like and unlike poles together to create different structures, the dynamics of magnetic attraction between opposite poles becomes apparent.

Levitation Rings: Offers a simple structural view and experience of attraction, repulsion, and propulsion when the magnetic rings are arranged to either stack or levitate. When the rings are restacked by participants, they experience hands-on physical and visual constructs of both attraction and repulsion.

Propellor: The Magnetic Propellers create opportunities for experimentation and participation using magnetic repulsion in a physically, dynamic system. The propulsion of these propellers are often considered a dynamical system that may appear chaotic. For older participants, the ability to explore complex dynamics can encourage thought and discussions about scientific theory and systems. For younger participants, this will aid the discovery of the stimulating, open-ended aspects of science. The challenge of apparent chaos or unpredictability presents opportunity for further exploration and imagination.

Magnetic Wall: Participants create imaginative patterns and sculpt scenic topographies using magnets and iron filings. They can attract filings to the side of a plexi wall by increasing the magnetic force by using multiple magnets.