EXPLORE THE FUTURE OF ENERGY AT MSI
Dynamic MSI experience features unique team simulation game
Chicago (September 18, 2013)—The Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago (MSI) has a dynamic, in-depth experience focused on tomorrow’s energy landscape—and the possibilities, opportunities and vision for creating a more sustainable energy future.
Using a state-of-the-art, multi-player simulation based on real-world data, Future Energy Chicago engages guests to explore creative solutions to our most critical energy challenges. Teams collaborate and compete in five exciting and unique simulation activities to design a future car, future house, future neighborhood, future transportation network and array of future power sources for Chicago. This exhibit opened to guests September 18, 2013.
“Our primary goal with Future Energy Chicago is to encourage and empower young people to envision their own role in our energy future,” said David Mosena, president and CEO of the Museum. “We developed this experience with a host of independent, research-centered energy experts, and it has the depth to motivate both kids and adults to engage in an issue that affects all of us.”
Future Energy Chicago, which is an experience unlike any MSI has created before and unprecedented in the Museum world, includes three distinct areas:
Upon entry to Future Energy Chicago, guests watch a six-minute, immersive film that celebrates the wonder of energy in our natural world, introduces guests to the global energy challenges we face and calls them to action, setting the stage for the heart of the Future Energy Chicago experience—the simulation game.
Future Energy Chicago Game Simulation
This is where the challenge begins! Guests and students are welcomed into the simulation area by MSI facilitators and divided into teams. Throughout the simulation, guests will play in teams of up to six players, and rotate through five fast-paced games to design an energy-efficient future car and house, improve tomorrow’s neighborhood, and reinvent Chicago’s transportation and power generation systems. Along the way, their progress—measured by their ability to conserve energy—is tracked in “energy tanks” on a 24-foot, visually rich scoreboard.
In each game, guests are challenged to maximize energy efficiency while considering the various pros and cons of each choice they make—including cost, comfort and environmental factors. Along the way, new constraints and opportunities appear, compelling guests to consider various trade-offs. For example, in Future Power, guests will begin the game by selecting energy sources to power the city of Chicago, but without any constraints for pollution. As the game progresses, new power sources appear, but pollution limits are also introduced and become progressively stricter. All teams contribute to the collective, cumulative score. Teams work together to beat the previous high score of each game and raise the overall score for the entire simulation.
Each of the games combines digital media with three-dimensional displays that enhance the realism of the simulation. In Future House, guests interact directly with a dimensional house that contains touch screen technology. Touching various areas of the home, they determine the most energy-efficient changes to make: Which parts of the house use a lot of energy? Will different windows help? In Future Car, guests are automotive designers and engineers as they make selections—engine, paint color, stereo systems—that are projected onto a white model of a car so that their design takes shape before their eyes.
The Future Energy Chicago simulation is informed by and based upon real-world information and data that can be updated to reflect the rapidly changing energy landscape. MSI partnered with Sieben Energy Associates to seek out, organize and interpret the data, which provided the basis for the simulation’s game scoring system.
"This exhibit experience is incredibly unique,” said Dr. Patricia Ward, director of science and technology at MSI. “We don’t know of another Museum that has created this kind of state-of-the-art simulation, and we are so excited to offer it to our guests and students.”
After completing the simulation, guests are further immersed in a playful, theatrical experience in which the energy of their own bodies brings the exhibit to life. In the Energy Garden, guests discover basic concepts about energy through physical play—that it is in everything, including you; it exists in many forms; and we can transform it to do useful things.
In this area, guests can:
- Ride a bike and convert motion energy into electrical energy, powering a dazzling array of visual effects, such as fire and water;
- Crank a hand generator and activate an array of “plasma trees” that energize the entire exhibit space;
- Feel the difference in energy demand among a range of light bulbs, from the inefficient incandescent, to the superefficient LED, as they power them with their own physical effort.
The Future Energy experience lasts about an hour and is not included in Museum Entry. It requires an additional timed-entry ticket, which is available as part of a Museum’s Explorer ticket package. There are four programs available, at 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. During the school year, school groups are encouraged to book the morning sessions. For more information on session times and to buy tickets, visit msichicago.org.
Future Energy Chicago was designed and developed by MSI in collaboration with key design partners Potion, Evidence Design, Donna Lawrence Productions and Focus Lighting Design.
The exhibit is made possible by the generous support of BP and the Exelon Foundation. Additional funding was provided by “Public Museum Capital Grants Program” Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Illinois State Museum; Anonymous; Elizabeth Ruth Bakwin; The Aunt Marlene Foundation; and Mr. Edward M. Bakwin.