Honey bees share their information about food sources through the waggle dance. This type of communication has long been known. But experts were still puzzled about how exactly they the details of the informations were communicated with their dance. Now biologists and computer scientists at the “Free University Berlin” have developed a robotic bee that helps decoding this dancing steps.
This fascinating project is part of the DFG exhbition “Von der Idee zur Erkenntnis”, which is currently traveling through Germany. Design, development of interactive exhibits and production was realized by my business unit “Interactive Exhibits” at Triad Berlin. Details about location and opening hours can be found on the DFG website. (image source)
Every project that is introduced at the exhibition consist of the same constitutive parts: the individual color code of the project, the significant teaser image, an intriguing intro question, the wall with detailed information about the project at its inner side and the so called laboratory. Here the visitors can slip into the role of the researcher for a moment and experiment on their own. Therefore each project has an especially developed hands on station with a simple interactive exhibit. Some of them are digital due to the wish of the researchers and the character of his project, but we tried to make as many as possible to be more analog and a bit playful. That ensures that even the most complex research projects attract more visitors then on the first sight would be interested in the topic.
A so called researchers file card is introducing the responsible researcher and his team. It also provides interesting background information by displaying the answers to 5 questions each of the responsible project managers has been asked.
On the right you can see the bee with a transponder on its back. During flight she is tracked by a radar and the information will later be transferred to the software. The Robobee imitates the waggle dance of other bees and the researchers control by radar if the bees are following the instructions to find the right food source.
A camera obscura in my opinion still belongs to the most impressive hands on exhibits in the optical field. It makes the visitor experience in a simple way how a lit up object is projected on a translucent screen without any technical support. And because most of the visiors are not expecting the upside down view, they do what science exhibits exactlly are made fot: start asking questions. Why…? Just try and think about it. The citizens of Lübeck allready tried this out. The camera obscura is the second exhibit of another set of ten, that will monthly be opened in each of the 10 city districts. Each of them has a partner exhibit in the old city center, where the “Wissenschaftspfad” (Science parcours) was opened on January 13th this year. (image source)
The according coloured triangles serve as seats and are symbolizing, that the exhibit is part of the initiative according to the “Stadt der Wissenschaft” (city of Science), that Lübeck is awarded in 2012. At the moment the triangles are still grey due to the cold weather, but the picture above gives you an impression how it hopefully will look like soon, when they get painted.
The first of the second set of ten outdoor science exhibits in Lübeck is the “Pixelwand” (pixel wall). Every exhibit in the city center (look at previous posts) will be accompanied by an according exhibit in one of the ten city districts. St. Lorenz-Süd has the honor to be the first where this beautiful pixel wall was opened on February 4th. Due to the cold weather of minus 15 degrees celsius that day, the final set of the base needed to be done later. Luckily it didn’t keep the citizens of Lübeck to express their love for their new interactive exhibit. (image source)
Ever tried to cut a paper Mobius strip in half? Or even in three parts (please along the centerline)? Well, I won’t blab this little surprise here, but try on your own! For the citizens of Lübeck we started with a simple exercise: just follow the border of this stainless steel Mobius strip with your finger and look where you end up. No outside? No inside either! (image source)
Some of Lübeck’s citizens where wondering what a telescope shall tell them at the entrance of the historic city center. But sneaking a peek through the supposed to be known object they got surprised by beautiful mirrored structures. No, without colored glass chips inside – because then it would have been a kaleidoscope and not an octoscope. At least that’s what I’ve been told. Why the description on the exhibit still says it’s a kaleidoscope? To cut a long story short: for sure it’s not a telescope… (image source)
Does this look like chaos? No… not yet. But when you twist the red button, the three different discs start dancing in a chaotic way. This pendulum is an adaption to the known chaos pendulum with two single tilted metal arms. To make it safe for the outdoor use, we developed this version with the help from our exhibit builder – and we love it! (image source)