New York City – Free Travel 7A: Sony Wonder Lab

On the south-east border of Central Park, on Madison Avenue at 56th Street, near Chanel, Bergdorf Goodman, Takashimaya and Escada, stands Sony’s Wonder Technology Lab (SWTL). It’s a place to start to understand our technological world with hands-on activities, and it’s FREE. You’ll mostly see hordes of kids, but there’s no reason that adults can’t learn and enjoy the experience there, too. Be a quintessential New Yorker — i.e. lose your inhibitions!

From the moment that your kids Log In to their SWTL experience by typing their first name, then choosing their favorite color and music genre; taking their picture next; and then recording their voice to create a Digital Profile (used to personalize the exhibit experiences that follow), they’ll be fascinated. Once they’ve set-up their profile, they watch as their digital information is transmitted into the Lab through a dynamic lighting effect.

In an adjacent area is a large world map which simulates Internet traffic and connections, tracing the many pathways taken by an e-mail, photos, music downloads and other data as it travels digitally from one location to another. This gives all visitors a sense of how the Internet connects them to the broader global community.

To learn how many of these digital devices work, the inner workings of three electronic objects appear to be floating in the air: a Sony Ericsson cell phone; a PSP® (PlayStation®Portable) and a Cyber-shot® digital camera. When a visitor moves across to touch a device, it dissolves into a 3D x-ray image that peels open (through animation to show the internal layers). Short labels identify some of the key internal components and briefly explain what they do.

At another station, learn how real-world information is digitized, processed, transmitted and received. Capture a pattern, using a brush equipped with a scanner inside; learn about Red, Green and Blue (RGB); and see how tiny pixel blocks of color make up every digital picture. Their Log In photo can be enhanced here, using a set of digital tools and a variety of accessories.

Nearby, visitors enter an area about nano-scale. Using an earth to green pea sizing analogy, an engaging video indicates just how small nano is, before enabling visitors to explore current and future applications of nanotechnology in: medicine, transportation, the environment and fashion.

Using haptic technology, see what being a robotic-guided surgeon is like. Visitors can actually feel what it is like to perform open heart surgery, as you really experience the physical sensations associated with various surgical instruments and procedures.

In the (SWTL) Animation Studio, tourists can choose one of three tracks to explore: Tricks of the Trade, Create a Character or Design a Computer Generated (CG) World. Tricks of the Trade teaches about basic animation principles and techniques. Create a Character enables you to control a character’s look, movement and facial expressions, in response to a storyline. And Design a CG World lets you model and place objects in a scene while experimenting with color, light and atmospherics (fog, rain, snow, etc.) to use elements to create mood and enhance storytelling.

Sony Wonder Technology Lab
550 Madison Ave. @ 56th St, New York General info: 212-833-8100
Hours: Tues- Sat: 10:00am – 5:00pm, Sun: 12:00pm – 5:00pm, closed Mondays and Major Holidays
Last entrance is 30 minutes before closing.

The future has arrived and this is a fun way to learn about it; this is cutting-edge New York City.

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©2010 mystic at Travel Vacation Review

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