Roboworld at the Carnegie Science Center, Pittsburgh, PA.
Roboworld is filled with robots programmed to destroy you—at party games. With a paddle for a hand, Air Hockeybot 1000 uses an overhead camera to see the puck, while a 32-bit CPU factors in speed, direction, spin and friction to predict where it will go next. StarKick Foosbot operates on a foosball table rigged with infrared lights that let it track the ball. And then there’s Hoops. Originally part of an automotive assembly line, the robo-arm welder-turned-baller shoots free throws with 98 percent accuracy. Challenge him only if you don’t mind being schooled by an automaton. While you’re there, see Cye—sort of a hybrid of a Roomba and a bulldozer—work through an obstacle course, and watch AARON create original paintings.
Trip tip: Also on view are full-size models of inductees into the Robot Hall of Fame, including R2-D2 and C-3PO, several Mars Rovers and T-800, the original Terminator.
Info: Admission is $17.95 for adults and $9.95 for children; Carnegie Science Center
Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tenn.
Oak Ridge, the Department of Energy’s largest laboratory facility, was built in 1943 as part of the top-secret Manhattan Project. Driving tours of the 58-square-mile compound stop at Y-12 and K-25, two of the original uranium-enrichment plants established during World War II, and the graphite reactor where Enrico Fermi accomplished the first sustained nuclear reaction. Visitors will also swing by the Spallation Neutron Source, which produces the most intense pulsed neutron beams of any facility in the world and is used to study everything from superconductivity to the structure of virus particles.
Trip Tip: The nearby American Museum of Science and Energy features a cross-sectional model of a nuclear reactor, as well as models of nuclear weapons developed at Y-12.
Info: Free tours Monday–Friday at noon, June 1–September 3; Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.