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Star Wars Exhibit

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I went to the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia on Saturday - it's about 1:45mins away from my house. They had a Star Wars exhibit on display through May featuring numerous props, models and costumes from the entire series. Its title, "Where Science Meets Imagination", was put to use as stations within the exhibit that let you build robots and small LEGO maglev trains, as well as a augmented-reality game where you placed tiles and on the screen they would be transformed into 3D buildings as you built a Rebel base or a Jawa trading camp. I didn't really play around with any of that though - photography was completely allowed so I spent all my time wandering through the displays taking tons of photos, which you can see in the album linked through the above image.

In addition to the Star Wars exhibit they had a life-sized replica of the Millenium Falcon cockpit and corridor. At least, that's what they advertised. The corridor was rather authentic but the cockpit was more of a facsimile than a true replica. But they had a large concave screen and merged projectors to create very believable view of outer space as you flew around a bit and listened to Anthony Daniels talk about exo-planets. The screen was very well-done and whenever your perspective changed you felt like the cockpit really was attached to a ship that was flying around (there was no tilting or rolling but technically in the Star Wars universe inertial dampeners would have prevented us from feeling those motions anyways if they were cranked up to "comfortable" levels). The cockpit also had a very well-done 3-dimensional sound space. It was too bad the whole "ride" lasted only like, 2.5 minutes. Which I can understand seeing that the cockpit only seats 4 and holds at max 6-7 so you have to cycle people rather quickly - but still :P

It was nice to return to the Institute, a place I haven't been since the days of school field trips. A lot changed obviously. One feature I didn't get a chance to visit that I'm partially devastated about was their huge perpetual ball machine. It's this gigantic enclosed case like 10' tall, 5' long and 3' wide that houses marble tracks and funnels and trampolines and all sorts of stuff and the marbles start at the top and bounce/roll/swing/fall/loop down to the bottom through a variety of paths, where they are collected and transported back to the top. It's fascinating to watch and used to be located in the main foyer, but they since re-located it to the top floor dubbed Issac's Loft (figures, since the main element to the machine in none other than gravity) and I didn't make it all the way up there. I'd go back just to see that. Oh well.

Busy week ahead, although I'm off from coaching this Friday and next week for spring break. w00t! Got lotsa personal stuff I wanna catch up on. Can't wait. Gotta get some sleep for now tho.
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Awesome pics I would love to have seen that exhibit. I bet Anthony Daniels was getting hot standing behind that glass in that 3p0 suite all the time. Still, that jobs got to be cake [grin], except for having R2 poke you with his terminal interface rod all the time.

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