Develop an Innovative Interactive Smart Material Exhibit for Children’s Museum of Houston

October 1st, 2006 - September 30th, 2009 | PROJECT

This Communicating Research to Public Audiences project is based on NSF-CCLI-EMD, 0341143, Development of a Smart Vibration Platform Experiment. The 24-month-long project is part of a continuing collaboration between the PI at the University of Houston and the staff of the Children's Museum of Houston (CMH). CMH is in the process of developing an exhibition on "smart materials," and has a stepwise exhibit development plan that involves the PI and his engineering students. The project work is adapting a device on the vibration dampening effect of magneto-rheological (MR) fluids from an educational application in an undergraduate mechanical engineering environment to a museum exhibit for ages 8+. MR fluids have the unusual property of being able to transform from the liquid state to a semi-solid state when subjected to magnetic fields. They are being used in the design of buildings in earthquake prone areas. The development team consists of the PI and college seniors in their Senior Capstone Design course, an education program evaluator at the University, and exhibits and program staff from the museum. Deliverables include a smart materials "earthquake dampening" exhibit and a touch-screen activated "video jukebox" unit on the research scientists and students and on the MR fluid. The CMH Kids' Committee is providing input on the exhibits as well.

Project Website(s)

(no project website provided)

Team Members

Gangbing Song, Principal Investigator, University of Houston


Funding Source: NSF
Funding Program: ISE/AISL
Award Number: 0617664
Funding Amount: 75000


Audience: Elementary School Children (6-10) | Middle School Children (11-13) | Museum | ISE Professionals
Discipline: Engineering
Resource Type: Project Descriptions
Environment Type: Exhibitions | Museum and Science Center Exhibits