‘Human Plus’ interactive exhibit combines real lives, real engineering

Posted Wednesday, May. 28, 2014  comments  Print Reprints

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“Human Plus: Real Lives + Real Engineering” is billed as an interactive exhibit that “tells compelling stories of engineers and users with disabilities who design and use technologies to help themselves and others achieve their goals.”

The Grapevine Convention & Visitors Bureau is hosting the free exhibit at its Grand Gallery through Sept. 14.

The show opened May 16 during the first of three days of the 30th Annual Main Street Days and will end during the 28th Annual GrapeFest.

“Human Plus,” created by the New York Hall of Science in partnership with the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry and the Quality of Life Technology Center with funding from the National Science Foundation, offers visitors a chance to explore and create a range of low-tech and high technology tools that restore and extend human abilities. Throughout the exhibit, visitors experience the creative, dynamic engineering process, which involves the user every step of the way.

Once visitors enter “Human Plus,” they are welcomed by three individuals whose compelling stories are told through videos and artifacts.

• Erik Weihenmayer, an outdoor adventurer who is blind and uses a variety of tools to help him accomplish his goals. In 2001, Erik became the first blind climber to reach the summit of Mount Everest.

• Elaine Houston, an engineer at the Quality of Life Technology Center. Elaine develops technologies to help others. Elaine is a user of assistive technology: a wheelchair and a prosthetic hand.

• Carrie Krischke, an Army veteran who has worked closely with DEKA engineers in the development of a new prosthetic arm known as the “Luke” arm, named after Star Wars character Luke Skywalker. Krischke, a mother of three, has participated in extensive testing to see how the arm, controlled by the motions of her foot, works.

The exhibit allows guests to get their hands on a broad range of ability-enhancing tools. It features interactive areas including Re-Designing You, RAMPS and Consider This. From customized wheelchairs to a vest that allows the wearer to feel music and neuroprosthetic limbs controlled by a user’s thoughts, Human Plus showcases an innovative field of engineering that improves lives every day.

Vanessa and Ian Hans had a great time, as did their 18-month-old daughter Lotte, who enjoyed “pushing buttons.”

However, Lotte’s adventure did not change her career choice.

“She wants to be a garbage collector,” her mother said. “She likes picking up stuff.”

The exhibition is open 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Saturday and noon-5 p.m. Sunday. The Grand Gallery is located in the Grapevine CVB Headquarters and Museum Complex at 636 S. Main St.

For information about Grapevine or its events, go to www.GrapevineTexasUSA.com or call 817-410-3185. For more information about Grapevine’s museums, visit www.GrapevineMuseums.com.

Marty Sabota, 817-390-7367

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