Kaleidoscope Virtual Reality - STEMWith his training in biomedical engineering, Kaleidoscope Design Engineer Tom Meyer works to improve the safety and efficacy of medical devices.

Recently, he applied many of the same skills he utilizes on a daily basis at Kaleidoscope to create a (quite literally) out-of-this-world Virtual Reality experience for participants of the 2015 Cincinnati Mini Maker Faire.

Tyler Cook, a Programmer at Kaleidoscope, helped Meyer with the creation of “Explore New Worlds,” and together they completed the Virtual Reality experience using Oculus Rift, Leap Motion Technology in the Unity platform with images directly from NASA.


Following in Neil Armstrong’s Footsteps, and Beyond

Kaleidoscope Virtual Reailty - STEMMore than 250 people, many of them kids and teens, dove into this “Explore New Worlds” Virtual Reality encounter with the solar system at the Cincinnati Mini Maker Faire this past weekend, August 29-30.

The event was held at the Cincinnati Museum Center, and this particular exhibit took place in a prime location adjacent a replica of Neil Armstrong’s space suit.

Exploring New Worlds: The Youth Speak

Kaleidoscope Virtual reality - STEMAnd it’s safe to say that people were floored by Meyer’s creation.

“I will never forget this!” This was the ecstatic response of one boy after experiencing the virtual reality event.

“It looks like this goes on and on forever,” said another awe-inspired young explorer when she put on the headgear and viewed one of the planets.

Engaging Youth in Design and STEM Conversations

Kaleidoscope Virtual Reality - STEMIn all, fourteen Kaleidoscope employees assisted with the Explore New Worlds event in various capacities.

Meyer, Cook and other Kaleidoscope volunteers ended up engaging in multiple conversations about Virtual Reality, design and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) topics with enthusiastic children and adults at Maker Faire.

“I enjoyed talking to those who were curious about what tools we used to build our project, especially those looking to develop for game engines in the future,” said Cook.

Kaleidoscope Design Engineer Ben Ko helped with the event and spoke with people waiting to try out the Virtual Reality experience.

“You could see the passion in the kids’ eyes as they elaborated—at a fevered pace—about all the ways they wanted to use virtual reality: playing their favorite video games (i.e. Minecraft), designing prosthetics or visiting their grandparent,” said Ko. “It was truly exciting to see how bright and engaged the next generation is!”

Meyer likewise acknowledged the interest and knowledge of young people at the event. “So many kids knew a surprising amount about virtual reality already; it was great talking with them about how they planned to use it,” he said.

Planet Postcards and Dynamic Posters

Kaleidoscope Virtual Reality - STEMParticipants also received take-aways from the event including candy (because everyone likes candy) and postcards with “greetings from” the planets.

Kaleidoscope Interaction Designer Jerad Raines designed the intriguing postcards for the event. They included “Greetings from Mars,” “Greetings from the Moon” and “Greetings from Saturn.” Over the course of the two-day event, all of the postcards—about 750 of them—were handed out to participants and passers-by.

Kaleidoscope Industrial Designer Hali Nacdimen designed a poster board describing the various parts of the Oculus Rift headset. The poster was displayed at the “Explore New Worlds” event for people to look over as they waited in line for their turn.

Making Around the World

Kaleidoscope Virtual Reality - STEMMaker Faire is an exciting annual event that takes place in cities around the world, from New York to Detroit to Paris to Rome to Tokyo. There are also numerous independently organized Mini Maker Faire events in different locations. Cincinnati is one of these special places.

The 2015 Cincinnati Mini Maker Faire was held in the Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal, and it was sponsored by Procter & Gamble, The Manufactory, Makezine.com and The Carol Ann and Ralph V. Haile, Jr. US Bank Foundation.

Other Makers represented at the Cincinnati Maker Faire included representatives from the Cincinnati Public Library, P&G, Cincinnati Symphony, MCM Electronics, Infinity Analytics, Cincinnati Made, Intermedio, Cincinnati State and HIVE 13.