Exhibit News

Our newest exhibit builder, Thor Myhre, has been busy in the shop
working on a couple different exhibits. He originally set out to add
another route to the Aerotrack, which uses air to blow ping-pong
balls through transparent plastic tubing. (This excellent exhibit was originally
developed by Jeremy Robinson, and has gone through a number of
incarnations over its 16  year history at Mindport.)

Thor, in the process of working on Aerotrack, became intrigued with the
basic theme of pneumatically driven ping-pong balls, and has embarked in
a whole new direction. I won’t spoil the anticipation by disclosing too
much, but this exhibit involves using pressurized air to set balls
dancing to adjustable rhythms. As you can see from the picture, it’s
grown into an octopus of tubing and dancing balls, which combo I’ve
jokingly dubbed “ping-pong polka.” A simpler version of this exhibit
should be available for your delectation within the next few months as
an experiment that will be added to and modified from time to time,
according to our observations of its public interaction. Stay tuned for
further news on this one.

We’ve had problems with the bicycle pumps that drive the air engine exhibit
failing frequently, due to enthusiastic attention, mostly from young visitors. In
fact we’ve gone through any number of these pumps, which cost over $100
each, so we’re anxious to address this vulnerability. Bill Lee, our
exhibit manager, has done extensive research on beefing them up,
and may have a satisfactory solution in place soon. We have a couple
other creative ideas for additions to the air engine. These will find
their way onto the stage as we find time to implement them. As is always
true with the creative work of exhibit building, ideas have a way of
mutating as development proceeds, so that the idea we start with often
ends up manifesting entirely differently than anticipated. 
Hence my reluctance to inhibit exhibit builders by being too specific
about their work in early stages of conception. It’s much more interesting to leave the development process open ended until it settles on its own direction.

Kevin Jones