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After Dark: Simple Machines

The chaotic pendulum swinging, creating white shadows against a black background
After Dark: Simple Machines

Have you thought about how astounding everyday tools and machines are? Through fundamental physics, they can multiply our force and make our lives more efficient. Tonight, explore the science behind simple machines by playing with kinetic gadgets, pendulums, and other mechanical marvels. What effects do you have with a turn of the crank? Do you possess the patience for the Machine with Concrete? (Hint: it might take a few billion years). Then hear from our artist in residence Catie Cuan, who turns robots into her dance partners. 

Rubber Band Racers
6:30–9:00 p.m.
Osher Gallery 1: Human Phenomenon
With the Explainers

Give this classic toy a new twist! Propel a rubber band racer with familiar materials for surprising effects.

Choreorobotics: Teaching Robots How to Dance
7:30 p.m.
Kanbar Forum
With Catie Cuan

Step into the world of robots that can dance and move with you, guided by Exploratorium’s new artist in residence Catie Cuan. A dancer, choreographer, and engineer with a PhD in robotics from Stanford, Catie is known for her groundbreaking practice that explores the connections between AI, robotics, and the human body. During her time with the museum, she will be creating a robot that pays special attention to human movement with the help of visitors and staff.

Hear from Catie about her experience dancing with Google’s robots in the first ever multi-robot machine learning project at the company. Learn about her eight-hour dance performance with an industrial robot arm, as well as her vision for a robot that cares.

A choreographer, dancer, and roboticist, Dr. Catie Cuan is a pioneer in the nascent field of “choreorobotics” and works at the intersection of artificial intelligence, human-robot interaction, and art. She holds a PhD and master of science in robotics and AI from Stanford University, where she is currently a postdoc in computer science.

Cranky Contraptions
6:30–8:30 p.m.
Bechtel Gallery 3
With the Explainers

Create “cranky contraptions” using everyday materials, and then explore storytelling and mechanical motion with these kinetic toys.

Food and drinks will be available for purchase at our Seaglass Restaurant and additional bar locations.