Thursday, January 31, 2008

Fantastic Plastics Works At Epcot's Innoventions East

On our last trip to WDW we did something I have never done before which falls into the general theme of this trip. We spent a lot of time at the Innoventions exhibits In Epcot. For the most part, on previous trips, we would bypass this to get further into the park and usually as we passed that way again later on, Innoventions would be closed. This trip however, we all decided that we want to spend some time exploring the exhibits they had to offer. They were all fun, but today I wanted to talk about the Fantastic Plastic Works or the Robot Exhibit sponsored by THE SOCIETY OF THE PLASTICS INDUSTRY, INC. This caught our eye because of the size of the area and all of the activity going on around it. This exhibit is billed as a Design your own robot, compete with it and then build it. It is not quite that as you will see. As you wait online, there is an area of monitors and devices that show you how molecules are combined to create different types of plastic. The next step is to get into the intro area. Here we had all of the specifics about what we were to do explained as we waited for the group in front of us to finish. Once they were done we were escorted into the computer area. Each person had a big terminal to create their own robot on. The wife and I did not take a station, we hung behind the kinds in order to help them out. You have control over all aspects of designing your Robot. It can be designed for looks or performance. The idea is that after your design is done, you can then run a race versus about 10 other people’s robots. So along with looks you want to make sure it is fast or maneuverable. To make your robot go, there are large pads on the floor that you need to run on. There are also pads to move right or move left. The race course is more like and obstacle course. I think you jump but jumping and landing on both feet. There is a time limit for all of the above. The boy did well in the race, our daughter did not do as good. Even with me jumping in at one point to keep her robot on course. However, at the end, everyone is asked to vote for the coolest robot designed. The big screen let you see everyone’s robot. My daughter came in first in design. My son came in 4th. After this part was over we were moved along into another area where we were able to grab parts for our robots. Here was the confusing part. The robot you build is not the one you designed. We had thought that this attraction was smart enough to take our design, produce the parts and let us build it. But, not the case. There is a standard robot design that they have the parts for. So, two legs, two arms, two sides of the head and two sides of the body is all you need to assemble your robot. At the back of this room was a plastic press machine making the parts we were using. It appeared to be really making the parts as they were dumped into a barrel at the end of the process. All automated and very cool. We took Tobor and Alice home with us. This post came about because we just dug them up this past weekend to play with. Here is a link with more information about this exhibit from And here is an extra bonus, the web site that let's you do everything that you can do at the exhibit. It's Fantastic Plastic Works. This is a very fun site. Enjoy.

No comments: