Adventures in 3-D
Adventures in 3-D,
a new exhibit premiering at Carnegie Science Center April 11, explains how
the eyes and brain work together--and how optical illusions, 3-D technology,
and even a simple painting can appear radically different than they really
Here’s a peek at Adventures
in 3-D’s five modules
containing 20 must-see-to-be-believed (or maybe not) interactives.
Why do we see three dimensionally? Well, because human eyes are slightly
set apart, each eye registers something different. This is called binocular
disparity. Depth perception and a 3-D representation of the world results
when the brain combines the eyes’ two images. This module uses fun-filled
games and demonstrations to explain this and other vision phenomena such as
stereo blindness (and, no, that’s not the inability to see a hi-fi).
Exhibits: Why do some paintings seem almost real? It’s because the
artist has created the impression of depth. This module features several
fine art reproductions to explain different artistic perspective
techniques. A special area focuses on trompe
l'oeil art--French for fool the eye--where light, shadow, and
perspective are used to create the illusion of three dimensions in a
* 3-D Technology:
Questions about how 3-D illusions are created, and why special glasses
are needed to view 3-D movies are answered here--including information on
devices and technologies such as autostereograms, vectograms, and
Applications: Sure 3-D technology is fun, but what are the practical
applications? Well, there’s topographic maps, in which three-dimensional
information is encoded on a two-dimensional surface. And get this: aerial
stereo photography, where photos taken from slightly different angles are
viewed as pairs, was used during World War II to locate camouflaged enemy
campsites. And let’s not forget the many forms of medical imaging, 3-D
computer interfaces, and virtual reality.
* 3-D Galleries:
Learn about the history of 3-D illusions such as the 1838 reflecting mirror
stereoscope and the 1850 lenticular stereoscope--the first practical 3-D
viewing device. In this module popular 3-D games are explained--from Magic
Eye pictures (autostereogram), holograms, and 3-D movies (anaglyphs) to the
modern art form of skoll-o-grams (pschologram) and the magic Winky-Blinky
eyes (lenticulars), popular in the 1940s and ‘50s.
Don’t miss the informational 3-D multi-media movie,
complete with special polarized glasses, in a 1950s-style mini theater. And
remember: Don’t believe everything you see.
Now in its fourth
year, the SciTech Festival is a community-wide celebration of innovation
and creativity, where science and technology achievements in western
Pennsylvania and around the world are recognized. More than 35
corporations and universities will participate, and this year’s special
guest is Kevin Warwick, Ph.D., professor of Cybernetics at England’s
University of Reading. Warwick is the world's leading expert in cybernetics and the first human cyborg
(he had a chip surgically implanted in his arm to transmit data back and
forth from his central nervous system to a computer). There’s
something for every taste, interest, and age.
* Family Days,
April 5-13, features
educational events and entertainment including “Big Horn,” a high-tech
vehicle with more than 100 horns, bells, and whistles, and “Earth Harp,”
the world’s largest stringed instrument. Members of the Buhl Planetarium and the Amateur
Astronomers Association of Pittsburgh will be on hand for Astronomy
Weekend, April 5 and 6.
* High School
Days, April 9-11, provides teens the chance to explore a plethora of
sciences--from robotics and information technology to biotechnology and the
environment. In addition, they can participate in corporate presentations,
job shadowing, and career cameos.
* The 64th
annual Pittsburgh Regional Science and Engineering Fair April 4-5 at Heinz Field. Some 700
students will display their projects and compete for more than $300,000 in
cash, scholarships, and prizes.
* College Days,
April 10 & 12. Features industry experts, interactive demonstrations,
panel discussions, the Collegiate SciTech Research Symposium (April 10),
and the first Annual Robotic Volleyball Competition (April 12).
programming, held throughout April, includes presentations by experts
and panelists, arts performances, audience
discussions, and the SciTech cyborg-themed Film Festival with Pittsburgh
Filmmakers, April 11-13.
For a list of
programs, venues, and schedules, call 412.237.3335 or visit www.scitechfestival.org.
Carnegie Science Center’s
Summer Camps run June 16 to August 15. Half-day and full-day camps as well
as preschool and family workshops are available. This year full-day camps
will be offered for the first time to kindergartners through second
The popular Kennywood Science (including a park
visit), Robotics, LEGO Mania, and Space Camp return and two new camps debut--Science Survivors and Design
Challenge. At Science Survivors, children will learn about Lewis &
Clark, explore the three rivers, and see the new Lewis and Clark movie at
the Rangos Omnimax Theater.
At Design Challenge students will create and build a scale model city.
For more information, visit CarnegieScienceCenter.org,
or call 412.237.1637.
Get ready for baseball season at UPMC SportsWorks’s
pitching cage. The regulation-length--60 feet, 6 inches from mound to home
plate--cage provides digital speed readouts of player’s pitches. And while
speed is good (professional ballplayers can pitch at speeds of 100-plus
mph), accuracy is key. It’s harder than it looks…but that’s why the pros
earn the big bucks.
The exhibit has facts about America’s favorite
pastime--including why curve balls curve and why the pitching mound is 15 inches
above the baseline (think gravity). But before doing a Randy Johnson
imitation, please try the warm up exercises listed by the cage: Let’s have
an injury-free season.