MOSI flashes forward with driverless vehicle, drones and robots

MOSI's new exhibit brings the future that much closer.

MOSI’s newest exhibit Innovate is sure to open eyes to the immeasurable future of autonomous, drone and robot technology.

Because of its interactive nature, guests will be able to get a hands-on experience of the newest technology available at MOSI, including the Meridian Shuttle, drones and robots such as Ollie and Sphero. The goal of the exhibit is to educate and spark the conversation for people in terms of what technology can bring to the table for the future of human/machine interactions.

“By making these new and developing technologies accessible to everyone, MOSI gives its visitors a sneak peek into their not-so-distant future and inspires our next generation of scientists, engineers and inventors to see that anything is possible,” says Molly Demeulenaere, President and CEO of MOSI.

Induct Technology’s Meridian Shuttle is the feature of the MOSI exhibit Innovate, and its inspiring, autonomous technology is the first of its kind to be available to the general public. The shuttle’s impressive specs allow it to see 360-degrees and 200 meters out, using four high-tech sensors found on each corner of the vehicle, that update automatically 25 times per second. With just an input on its touchscreen monitor, the Meridian sets off, using its sensor technology to navigate to the destination selected safely. The Meridian is also reversible; depending on the direction that is input, the front of the vehicle can become the rear and vice versa. This 4-wheel drive, free-electric running shuttle is the first taste of autonomous technology that is open for public consumption, and is a step toward to future of its industry.

Drones typically are paired with the nasty stigma of privacy invasion, and spying, but Innovation is hopeful to turn that mindset around, and educate the public on the many useful ways that drones can help people, thanks to the drone donations from Turin Aviation Group. The main goal of the exhibit is education — drones are not something to be feared, but are extremely helpful with surveying and in agriculture. From helping farmers manage large crops and spraying pesticides, to surveying power lines and creating 3D elevation models for mapping purposes with their high-definition cameras, "the possibilities are endless,” says Turin Aviation Group’s Matt Ippolito. MOSI’s Drone Zone will be open July 6.

The third element of Innovations is the robot experience, which showcases robots such as the Double Telepresence Robot, a single-wheeled, iPad-esque monitor on a pole that is remote controlled with 360-degree mobility that can extend taller or shorter depending on the controller. Its camera functions like FaceTime, allowing for remote transference of an image. The experience also features Sphero and Ollie. Sphero, a small, cue-ball sized white ball, encased in rubber that lights up and can steer up to 4 mph. It’s compatible with apps from a remote Bluetooth-connected source, including a drawing app that allows the user to map out where Sphero will go. Similar to Sphero in terms of functionality, Ollie is little more aggressive in that it can go 14 mph, and is cylindrical in shape, also with flashing lights, and can spin. While these robots have no industrial use and are more for hobbyists, they showcase a small taste of the technology that is becoming available in the world of robotics.

“There is often a fear surrounding new technologies like autonomous vehicles and drones,” said President Demeulenaere. “MOSI empowers people to embrace their curiosity regarding these new technologies in a safe and protective environment.”

MOSI’s driverless vehicle and robot experience is now on view and the Drone Zone will open on July 6 at 10 a.m. as a part of MOSI’s newest exhibit, Innovate. This experience will be included with the price of admission and free for MOSI members.

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