We went to Boston to demonstrate our touch table games at the Mesa Mundi booth at PAX. We allowed a couple extra days so that we could do some sight seeing around the city. The highlight of the trip was PAX. PAX would have been pretty cool even if we weren’t vendors, but we got a lot of joy and satisfaction from watching people enjoying our games.
We started by touring the MIT campus and spent most of our time there in the MIT Museum. The exhibits include AI and robotics, slide rules, holography and the “Gestural Engineering” sculptures of Arthur Ganson. They had a hardware implementation of a LISP interpreter, a bunch of the robots that we have seen in videos, and some pretty impressive holograms. But the best part was the sculptures. These are Rube Goldberg style machines that are both mechanically interesting and artistic. They were all fun to watch and we spent a lot of time tracing how each one worked. My favorite was probably “Beholding the Big Bang” which is a motor attached to a series of 2x reduction gears. The first gear is spinning rapidly and the last gear is embedded in concrete. It would take 13 billion years for the final gear to make one revolution. Video.
Another great sculpture was the “Wishbone”. In this sculpture, a wishbone appears to walk down a track dragging a large spinning machine behind it. When it gets to the end of the track it stops and waits while 1/3 of the track rotates 180 degrees so that the wishbone can walk back the other direction. Video.
Our other favorites were:
We had planned to do the Freedom Walk, but it was really cold, so we went to the Museum of Science instead. We have been to quite a few museums of this style, so we had seen some of the exhibits before. This museum had a unique mathematics exhibit that was sponsored by Mathematica. It had a good probability display and a demonstration of minimal surfaces with soap films.
The signature attraction at the museum is the “theater of electricity” where they have a three story Van de Graff generator, a Faraday cage made by Faraday and a Tesla coil that can be tuned to play music.