Heartland STEM Scholars Learn about Optics & Photonics Technologies at IRSC STEM Forum - April 14, 2018
On Saturday, April 14th 2018, IRSC hosted the Heartland Education Consortium for the annual Heartland STEM Scholars event. Over 50 students had the opportunity to explore everything IRSC offers in the STEM field, to include Robotics, Photonics, Digital Media, and Computer Science. There were discussions about light and fiber optics and most of all safety. Activities within our own Photonics program were offered by Will Keiser and included activities developed by LASER-TEC which included a museum security system, polarization demonstration, and holograms. The museum security system was a mock-up of what you might find in an actual security setting when an object of importance requires autonomous security. The polarization demonstration was a new age representation of a kaleidoscope. The scholars would place a special optically active tape and create patterns on a clear substrate, then using two polarizing filters, they could create a kaleidoscope effect. The activity the scholars seem most to enjoy most was the hologram activity. Most people now a days have cell phones, they are everywhere! By using a clear film and cutting out a pattern and applying some tape to secure it, they were able to play a video and make it appear to be floating above the cell phones display. There were many “oohs” and “aah’s”, even from the parent volunteers. Each session within each field lasted one hour, and it would seem the scholars enjoyed every minute of it.