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WATCH: The Toyota Engineering Theatre is unveiled at the Detroit Science Center

The Toyota Engineering Theatre: Part Two

Quicktime Required

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Local News / Entertainment

Friday, 13 March, 2009 4:55 PM

The Toyota Engineering Theatre opens at the Detroit Science Center

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

Seating in the new Toyota Engineering Theatre at the Detroit Science Center.

by Garrett Godwin
ggodwin82@yahoo.com

 

WATCH: The Toyota Engineering Theatre is unveiled at the Detroit Science Center

The Toyota Engineering Theatre: Part Two

Quicktime Required

DETROIT -- It was a roller-coaster ride inside, as the Detroit Science Center gave the press and several grade school students a sneak peek into the Toyota Engineering Theatre, which opens publically on Saturday, after two years in the making. "It is our vision to become the nation's premier engineering-focused museum," said Detroit Science Center President/CEO Kevin F. Prihod. "The centerpiece of this vision is to create a theater experience that will inspire today's youth to become the engineers of tomorrow. The theater will expose them to the exciting, prestigious and profitable careers of actual engineers in many different engineering fields."

The inaugaration of the Toyota Engineering Theatre were a trio of shows: "Engineering Adrenaline" with a Olympic kayaker who designed and built the world's biggest man-made whitewater rafting park; a 6-legged robotic rover for the next moon mission, and a Toyota engineer who will take the audience off-road and on the race track as she develops an air delivery system for the Tundra full-size pickup truck.

"The Toyota Engineering Theatre is really a special effects theatre," said Todd Slisher, Vice President of Science Programs at the museum. "You sit in seats that move, they rock back and forth to video segments whether it's rafting through whitewater or taking off on a space shot with a JPL mission. They also do effects -- they blow wind in your face, they splash you with water, bump around, vibrate in between. It's all put to a live video presentation that we do in the theatre to look at engineering as a career."

It is open for everyone of all ages -- whether you're interested in math, science, engineering, or all the above. Still, the Center hopes that the theatre will attract the younger crowd before they reach high school and college as well as aiming those high school/college-bound students that have lost interest in either of these fields.

"These are all the same type of motion effects seats that are used at Disney or Universal Studios," Slisher said. "We actually think we have the largest theatre in the country as far as the number of seats, 166 seats in this theatre that create all the special effects. We open with a specific video program. We'll open another one in four months. We will continue to open new programs every four or five months."

After its public debut this weekend, the Toyota Engineering Theatre will be a permanent fixture for the Detroit Science Center, as more shows are currently in the works.

"It's a very exciting adventure for us," said Rick Russell, Engineering Content Developer at the Detroit Science Center. "Engineering can be a very cool and awesome field to enter. With this theatre and a bunch of kids getting rocked in their seats and entertained, we planted some pretty good seeds here. Engineering is a good job to consider as they get older."

DSC is also looking forward that once entering the theatre, they will enter the world of engineering so once the ride is over, they'll be able to see and understand that not all in engineering aren't socially inept, pocket-wearing brainaics, geeks, nerds, know-it-alls, or "squints" based on stereotypes from shows such as CBS' The Big Bang Theory and FOX's Bones.

"This is really the first show," Russell said. "We've shot content for four shows. Public interest will continue to grow. There's no denying that these are difficult times for the automotive industry out here including Toyota. Everybody's suffering. But as a result, I can't think of a better time to build shows for this theatre."

For more information about the Toyota Engineering Theatre, visit www.detroitsciencecenter.org.

RELATED STORY: 'Star Trek' exhibit now open at the Detroit Science Center through Labor Day

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

The entrance to the all-new Toyota Engineering Theatre.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

AmericaJR.com's Garrett Godwin interviews Todd Slisher, Vice President of Science Programs at the Detroit Science Center.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

Active seats move forward and backward to give visitors an interactive experience.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

Museum goers can expect to get air blown on their face and water sprayed on them.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

AmericaJR.com's Garrett Godwin interviews Rick Russell, Engineering Content Developer at the Detroit Science Center.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

The Toyota Engineering Theatre is a permanent addition to the science center. It will rotate films about once every four months.

 

 

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