The Robot Zoo
Children across the nation can explore the biomechanics of complex animal robots to discover how real animals work, thanks to a touring exhibit, "The Robot Zoo."
The 7,000-square-foot exhibit reveals the magic of nature as a master engineer. Eight robot animals and more than a dozen hands-on activities illustrate fascinating real-life characteristics, such as how a chameleon changes colors, a giant squid propels itself and a fly walks on the ceiling. The larger-than-life-size animated robots include a chameleon, a rhinoceros, a giant squid with 18-foot tentacles and a platypus. Also featured are a house fly with a 10-foot wingspread, a grasshopper, a bat and a giraffe whose head and neck alone stretch 9 feet tall.
Machinery in the robot animals simulates the body parts of their real-life counterparts. In the robot animals, muscles become pistons, intestines become filtering pipes and brains become computers.
Sensory activities include "Swat the Fly," a test of the visitor's reaction time (one-twelfth as fast as a house fly's), and "Sticky Feet," where visitors wearing special hand and knee pads can try to stick like flies to a sloped surface. Triggering the "Tongue Gun" demonstrates how a real chameleon shoots out its long, sticky-tipped tongue to reel in a meal.