On 12 May 2018, HotPopRobot team set up their stall on St. George Street, Toronto as a part of the Science Rendezvous 2018 event organised by the University of Toronto.
Science Rendezvous is a free annual all-day festival that brings science out of the lab and onto the street with the ultimate goal of improving student enrolment as well as public involvement in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (S.T.E.M.) fields. It occurs at over 40 sites across 30 Canadian cities. We have visited several of these events and enjoyed learning on a range of subjects from astronomy to zoology. But this was the first time we decided to present our projects at Science Rendezvous.
We displayed two of our projects: Cosmic Dance and TRAPPIST-1 model from morning until evening. These two projects were selected for the inaugural SciArt Gallery of the Science Rendezvous as they made use of Science, Coding, Music and Making – merging together arts and science.
“Cosmic Dance” model is about using radiation from space to generate randomness in the movements of two handcrafted puppets. The model has four sensors: Infrared, Visible, Ultraviolet and X-Rays which constantly measure incoming radiation and feed it to our Arduino. Our Arduino programme generates random numbers based on the incoming signals and outputs pulses which determine the movements of the puppets.
TRAPPIST-1 model is a light and sound show made using LED strips, Arduino and Sound synthesis software (Reaper). It simulates the harmonic orbital period of the Trappist-1 exoplanets by converting music files into specific frequencies which are fed into Arduino which synchronizes the LEDs strips to match with the harmonics of the music.
Our stall was once again jointly shared with astrophysicists cum musician Matt Russo and Andrew Santaguida of Systems Sound. They are the inspiration behind our TRAPPIST-1 model. Partnering with them means that kids are able to experience the music, lights, sounds of TRAPPIST-1 model and also create their own planetary music!
It was an amazing experience. We had hundreds of eager children and their parents turn up at our stall. The best part was certainly answering some very creative questions put up by kids. These include, what would happen to the harmonic orbital period of TRAPPIST-1 planets if their parent star would become a black hole (it should not change). Or does the radiation which is generating randomness in the motion of puppets in the Cosmic Dance model affecting us too? (Yes we are receiving the same radiation but much of the harmful radiation is blocked by the Ozone Layer and absorbed by the atmosphere).
Needless to say, the best part of the Science Outreach was being a part of this cycle of Giving Demo to kids, Answering questions by kids, Seeing brief gleam of satisfaction, followed by more curious questions by kids!
The event was wonderfully organised. We thank the organisers of the SciArt Gallery (Tim and Ravi) as well as the Science Rendezvous team of the University of Toronto for inviting us to present our projects.
We hope to be back in 2019!