Get your geek on: World Science Festival lands in Brooklyn

May 31, 2012 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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Science at Brooklyn Bridge Park; tech at MetroTech

By Mary Frost

Brooklyn Daily Eagle

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BROOKLYN The World Science Festival geek-fest  promoted as “premier science event in the United States” takes place in New York City through June 3, and on Saturday two sites in Brooklyn will be packed with interactive science activities, games and performances.

“At Brooklyn Bridge Park, the festival will tilt towards families with a daylong event called “Science-On-Site: Explorations in Brooklyn Bridge Park.”  The day culminates with an evening of stargazing telescopes and food trucks included.

In Downtown Brooklyn, NYU-Poly is transforming Metrotech’s outdoor quad into “Innovation Square” a high tech playground. Innovation Square will exhibit the latest advancements in robotics, multiplayer gaming and educational technology, and showcase NYU-Poly as a lynchpin of Brooklyn’s “Tech Triangle.”

“The World Science Festival is about sparking passion for science, and this is an amazing opportunity to experience emerging technologies firsthand, to see a glimpse of the future as it takes shape, and meet the scientists and NYU-Poly professors who are working at the cutting edge of their fields,” NYU-Poly President Jerry M. Hultin said in a statement.

NYU-Poly spokesperson Kathleen Hamilton told the Brooklyn Eagle that students and professors are busy preparing one-of-a-kind projects for Brooklyn tech fans.
NYU-Poly researchers will stage an augmented reality “rocket launch” -- a virtual rocket, viewable with a iPhone -- from the center of MetroTech commons during the World Science Festival.  Photo courtesy of NYU-Poly

“The researchers in the NYU-Poly Game Innovation Lab have been preparing for festival visitors to play 11 different games each of them a one-of-a-kind prototype built from scratch or hacked from existing hardware such as iPads and Kinect peripherals,” she said. “They are installing cameras on the square and have built stand-alone photo booth-like arcade games. Every one of the games is fun to play, but also represents many hours of real research.”

The Science on Site events at Brooklyn Bridge Park will take place from 10 a.m.–10 p.m. and will include lessons in ancient fishing techniques and the science secrets of the Brooklyn Bridge, as well as a park-wide botanical safari. Science-On-Site events will be held at Pier 1, the Empire Fulton Ferry, and Main Street.

From 8 p.m.–11 p.m. you can join professional and amateur astronomers for some stargazing on Pier 1 for “From City to the Stars.” Bring a blanket and your telescope if you have one, or use one of the dozens the astronomers have on hand. Food trucks will be in the area with snacks and wine.

Activities at MetroTech run from noon–7 p.m., with demonstrations designed for both children and adults. Participants can watch the first public demonstration of quantum levitation, get lost in the robot petting zoo, enjoy an augmented reality archaeological dig or play with the world’s lightest material. The festivities will culminate with a center-stage dance competition featuring an original multisensor game from NYU-Poly’s Game Innovation Lab at 5 p.m.

NYU-Poly’s Mark Skwarek and fellow artist John Craig Freeman from the group Manifest.AR will stage an augmented reality rocket launch from the center of the square. Bring a mobile device to watch them plant a flag on the moon.

College-bound students and their parents can join an NYU-Poly information session at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. at the Wunsch Building on Innovation Square.

For more information and full schedule of events, visit the World Science Foundation website at

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