Welcome to the New Reality, folks! On Friday, September 28, the Education Commons (EC) hosted a space adventure for the Penn community, as part of TRL’s PennImmersive initiative to explore all things innovative tech and gadgetry. Upon arrival, attendees received their EC passports and were tasked with completing four hands-on emerging tech challenges, including a Makey Makey maze; a choice of 3D printing, scanning, and drawing activities; an AR scavenger hunt; and a VR experience.

event passport
EC Passport

The Makey Makey maze tested voyagers’ dexterity and ability to work as a team.  Makey Makey is described as an invention kit and includes a small circuit board, USB cable, and wires, which is used to connect real-world, conductive objects to computers. Our maze champion clocked in under four seconds and won a 3D-printed phone speaker!

Makey Makey maze
Photo left: Two students race to win the ultimate prize. Photo right: The Emerging Tech Librarian and Teaching & Learning Librarian gearing up for the event.

The Makey Makey team also thought our maze was pretty amazing and declared it their October Community challenge on Twitter.

Make your own with these directions and share on Twitter with the hashtag #makeymakeychallenge. Don’t have a Makey Makey? The EC now lends them for 3-day periods!

In the EC’s new Makerspace, the 3D challenge included options to print a 3D bookmark, draw with 3D pens (you can check these out, too!), and scan objects with our 3D scanner.

collage of scenes from the maker space and users working with 3D tech

EC staff and student workers created a variety of experiences for the AR challenge with Zappar, an augmented reality tool that works with a free iOS and Android app. Voyagers were asked to interact with 5 zaps of their choice. Download the app and try it out for yourself by scanning the zap code in the images below!

a zap of a robot and robot dog,
Take a selfie with a robot!
zap of a cat with a flat Earth on its back
Created by our student worker Meri!
room of people wearing VR headsets
The EC will also soon be lending two Oculus Gos!

Our last challenge entailed a choice of two VR games using Oculus Go, a virtual reality headset. Voyagers were able to step into the shoes of astronauts to float in space 250 miles above the Earth with BBC’s Spacewalk and/or immerse themselves in the science fiction universe of GUNJACK to defend a mining platform from enemy ships.

pizza

To fortify our weary travelers, we, of course, provided pizza, moon pies, and Milky Ways. Other diversions were also available in the form of Daft Punk and Galaxy Quest.

After our voyagers completed all four challenges and emerged victorious, they were able to choose from a variety of 3D print ultimate prizes, including articulated dinosaurs, bracelets, Pokemon, spinning tops, baby Groots, and more!

student holding 3D print prizes

Thank you to all who helped us pull off this awesome event! If you are interested in learning more about these types of technologies and spaces at the EC, please reach out to us! We are always looking for opportunities to collaborate and want to support your teaching and learning endeavors.

student using a 3D pen and taking a selfie

Also, keep an eye out for future events and workshops at the EC. This fall, we will be holding several workshops in our Makerspace and also are debuting our Women in Sci-fi Movie Series. Next week on Wednesday, October 17th, we are showing the 1986 classic-Sigourney Weaver-goodness Aliens. Popcorn starts at 4pm!

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