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Sony Wonder Technology Lab (New York, USA)

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Address: 56th Street b/w Madison and 5th Avenues.

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      15.11.2000 04:29
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      We were in New York in the last week of October, and I took my six year old son to visit the Sony Wonder Technology Lab. It is a high-tech high-participation attraction with exhibits rather reminiscent of the Science Museum in London. While you queue to get in (about 20 minutes, and inside the Sony building so you aren't exposed to the elements) you can engage in conversation with a rather engaging robot. The robot is clearly being controlled in real time by a human who can see and hear the people in the queue through the robot's eyes and ears, but the children were pretty impressed by it. The controller gave a very good-natured and welcoming start to the visit. Once inside, each visitor is presented with a magnetic card. These cards are the used to log-in at a computer terminal, equipped with camera, so that once you enter you can swipe your card at each exhibit and your name, picture and voice will be available to be used in the exhibit. The exhibits include a giant screen on which your picture appears and can be edited or painted over using a wand-operated pointing device, various robots that can be programmed and then operated, many displays of how Sony products work inside, and a Playstation area. The one criticism would be that there is more queuing than doing. My son and I actually did about three things and left after an hour. Nonetheless, he considered that he'd had a great time. I'd say it's great to take small children, or for slightly older children if their pushy enough to get onto the Playstation games, which is probably what the older ones would be most interested in. I was glad that my 13 year old decided not to come - it would have been a waste of his morning.

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