The Magic Planet is coming to miSci, and it has something to say to those who haven’t yet made up their minds on climate change.
Created in 2002 in California by Global Imagination, the Magic Planet is a 3-dimensional, digital video globe designed as a teaching tool to spark the imagination of young and old. It is the featured item in a new three-part exhibit at miSci entitled “Wind and Solar: The Renewable Energy Revolution.” The exhibit is sponsored by GE Renewables and will be open to the public beginning Thursday.
“They’ll be three main components in the exhibit, but the 3-D video globe called the Magic Planet will be the centerpiece of the exhibit,” said Chris Hunter, senior archivist at miSci. “It’s a 30-inch diameter globe on a pedestal with a touch screen and a projector inside the base of the globe that will actually project 3-D video onto the globe. We can do all sorts of presentations relating to temperature change and extreme weather. We’re really excited to be bringing it to the Capital Region.”
Hunter said the exhibit will offer information on wind turbines, solar panels and climate change, and why the technology around renewable energy is so important to the world today. Activity stations with interactive components should be popular aspects of the new exhibit, but Hunter expects the Magic Planet to be everyone’s first stop.
“The climate is definitely changing, and climates have always been changing,” said Hunter. “What 97 percent of the climate scientists believe is that human impact is accelerating climate change. I don’t know if it will change minds, but people will be able to walk away with more information and be better educated to be able to make judgements on issues like this. That’s what the Magic Planet can do.”
Mike Foody, a Montreal native and an 1981 graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, is the founder and CEO of Global Imagination. It’s primary product is the Magic Planet, which is now seen by more than 40 million people in 39 countries around the world. It was initially in places such as the Smithsonian, NASA, NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) and the California Science Center in Los Angeles, and has since also found homes at various universities and museums around the world.
“This is going to be the first Magic Planet in the Capital Region, so we’re very excited about that,” said Foody, who studied computer graphics and . “MiSci will be joining the ranks of the Smithsonian and NASA and other national institutions and universities, and they’re going to use it in a couple of ways to help educate the public about issues of climate change.”
Foody said the Magic Planet will give visitors a virtual reality look at the world without a head set.
“To show virtual reality content, you used to have to put on a head set and look around,” said Foody. “The Magic Globe simplifies all that. All of you there will be able to see the content in a public arena without the headset. We also took some of the GE virtual reality content and put that into the globe to tell their story more effectively.”
Foody said the Magic Planet is all about science, not politics.
“We have learned how to articulate climate change in a way that everybody understands,” said Foody, “and everybody agrees upon. When you talk about the subject it’s best to frame it in a way that doesn’t trigger political instincts. We can disagree about how to address it and the cost, but climate change is science and about protecting our planet for our children and our grandchildren. It’s not all that controversial. It’s about responsible management of where we live, and I think that’s a value shared by all Americans.”
The Magic Planet is going to be a permanent fixture at miSci.
“They’re in a couple of hundred school districts right now and we’re hoping that over the years every student will have access to the Magic Planet,” said Foody. “When you look at the cost of a school field trip, the Magic Planet is really not that much per student. It’s a great educational tool that offers a wide variety of content.”
‘Wind and Solar: The Renewable Energy Revolution’
WHAT: An exhibit featuring the Magic Planet
WHERE: miSci, 15 Nott Terrace Heights, Schenectady
WHEN: Exhibit opens Thursday, June 1; miSci is open Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., and Sunday noon-5 p.m.
HOW MUCH: $7.50 for children 3-12, $9 for seniors, and $10.50 for adults
MORE INFO: 382-7890, www.misci.org