Sony Explora Science – its a kids day out in Tokyo
In Odaiba the Tokyo shopping and entertainment island, Sony Explorascience is tucked at a corner in glistening shopping mall. An unlikely placement but then that is perhaps it’s charm. Does not make learning a tedium rather makes it more of a joy. Thus it perfectly blends in with its surroundings.
Once you get inside past the ticket gate, it’s all full of touchy feely activities that prod even the crankiest one to smile. Yes smile one must as the first game itself calls for participants standing in front of a giant screen to smile. The best smile is judged by a camera and it puts a crown onto the winner! A bunch of people all smiling their best is certainly a good beginning.
The theme is then carried forward to the next game, where ones smile is judged comparing with day’s other contestants and a rank is assigned. As per the rank one gets to be a member of a favorite football team say of Brazil.
This kind of smile contest sees some serious competition in a later game where two contestants from amongst the visitors sit next to each other facing the screen in front, and smile their teeth out.
The winning smiler knocks the other one out, proceeding to next stage. It’s so addictive I have seen people coming back to queue for one more attempt!
The other games also are all such participative/ addictive, all using principle of light and sound as basic learning tools. There is this game of ping pong where one can strike colorful little disks which are actually projected light. Sensors sense the player’s movement and calculate where the disk would be.
Such virtual projection based game is there in a more active way in dancing studio. Dancers dance and their movement is transferred into a screen character that dances in tune. Then there are displays where the person in front is scanned by a camera and the software places him / her in the story board being displayed on monitor.
In next another game a design is projected on a white board and two contestants vigorously wave their hands as if to color the design from their part of the board. Sensors sense the movement of the contestants and reflect that on the projected image as if it is being colored off. Of course one wins and that is the fun.
Just like the way light is processed through sensors, sound is also processed in some games and the output is projected either visually or through touch. So for example there is a sound blob contest to make different pitch of sound. A visual ball goes up / inflates / fattens as per the contestants will and the sound made.
Then there are 3D display walls, the 3D movie hall and the experience center where participants carrying small LCD touch pads move in a room the walls of which have A deep sea projected around. As if the viewer has dived down into the depths of ocean. The characters floating by can interact with the person carrying the LCD panel. At different parts of the wall creatures belonging to different oceans in the world swim past.
Overall it is a mish mash of games and learning where the learners fight to learn! Its a complete kids day out, for hands on learning through play.
Science Playareum, as a team couchflyer member said, a word invented in the spirit of experiment…!!!
Its Science Playareum
See the below video for complete experience of Sony Explorascience a science playareum