Software Turns Kids into Weather Forecasters

The Children's Museum of Science and Technology makes kids feel like weather forecasters for a day with the use of software from Network Automation.

John Graydon Smith, president and CEO of the Childrens Museum of Science and Technology in Troy, N.Y., came to the museum in the summer of 2006 hoping that he could make exhibits more interactive for kids.

To meet the technological needs of the exhibit, Smith established an interactive weather exhibit using AutoMate software from Network Automation.

Using visual design software known as Automate, the interactive weather exhibit allows kids and parents to conduct a live weather forecast in front of a green screen, just like professional weather forecasters do on television.

Joe Kosco, vice president of business development for Network Automation, told eWEEK that "AutoMate software enables the kids to create a personalized weather forecast video, something that would be impossible without the software solution."

The interactive weather exhibit enables kids to perform a live weather forecast in front of their choice of a standard weather map, driving hurricane footage and blizzard video. At the end of their simulated weather forecast, the kids are allowed to review the video to see their performance.

"The experience the solution enables is very enjoyable for the kids and in the process, they learn something about the weather and video production," Kosco said.

Kosco believes that this technology can help shape the future of childrens sciences as he stated that "more interaction with science means more fun for many who consider book-learning to be dull and boring. More fun means that more kids will learn something valuable about science and technology."

According to Smith, the interactive weather exhibit has been a great success thus far.

"It is a one-of-a-kind exhibit that utilizes science and technology in new ways," Smith said in a company release. "It is one that dummy-proofs the process so that even a two-year old can participate. The kids and their parents just love it."

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Kosco agrees that this was the best way to reach out to young children, saying that "in the past, these types of interactive exhibits required a lot of adult supervision as well as some technical expertise to direct the kids and produce the videos. As a result, the museum wanted something completely turnkey, foolproof and automated."

The museum pays for the entire exhibit, which includes the physical display, terminals, computers and software. The price to use the exhibit is free with admission to the museum.

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