Mar 24 2012

My Adventures with the Scream Machine Booth at the San Diego Science Festival

Published by at 7:44 pm under Cosmos Research Center

Tom Munnecke, Jun Axup, and Ernesto Ramerez at the Quantified Self Booth at the San DIego Science FestivalI had a great time at the San Diego Science Festival today at Petco Park.  This is my fourth year participating with them.  It is a great opportunity for kids to get out and experience science in a festive environment, and for the San Diego Science community to support the younger generation.

This year, I teamed up with the San Diego Quantified Self Meetup Group.  Our booth featured a Scream Machine… a booth that kids could go in to scream into an iPad, which would measure the volume of their scream.  This is what I call “Drive By Science” – with a steady stream of kids going by, with only a short attention span, how do we give kids a valuable science experience they can remember?  Having adults ask kids to go into a booth to scream is certainly a unique experience for a kid, and having a scientific instrument to measure it and show how science can make observations, I think fills the bill.  We had 750 screamers come through the booth.  I only needed a little Advil to make it through the day 🙂

I’m shown here in my official Lab Coat as Executive Director of the Galactic Headquarters of the Cosmos Research Center, whose headquarters happens to be in my back yard. I’m standing next to Quantified Self Meetup Organizers Jun Axup, and Ernesto Ramirez, two very enthusiastic UCSD grad students.  Cece O’Connor, Dana Fell,  John Amschler, Gabriel Schuyler and Mike Eddy also helped build the booth.  (Mike produces the TEDx Del Mar event, where I spoke a while back).

Jun has a very succesful Kickstarter project to make Biochemies – DNA Plush Dolls, for which I’m anxiously awaiting my shipment.

We’ll be posting our design for the booth shortly, in case anyone else wants to replicate it for their own use.

There is something special about screaming, I think.  Everyone of our screamers, (and the audience watching it), broke out into big smiles after their scream.



And here is a movie showing the operation of the scream machine:



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