Installed in science museums throughout the world, the popular Hotplates exhibit, originally co-developed with Hands On! Inc., provides a lively stage or magnetic experimentation and play.
The Hotplates platform consists of a shiny, horizontal stainless steel surface, inlaid with 4 sand-blasted circles. Four concealed computer-controlled electromagnets in a square array underlie the platform. Computer controls on the front of the exhibit offer visitors diverse ways to alter the magnetic field with dials and switches.
Visitors can use the exhibit to learn about magnetism, motors, mechanical resonance, and mathematics, or simply enjoy it as a fun, interactive experience.
A bin beside the exhibit contains a diverse collection of items that visitors are invited to place on the platform. Once placed "on stage", the items respond to the magnetic fields, their behavior changing as visitors experiment with the controls. The range of different bin objects provides everyone with something of interest. A few examples of objects in use with current exhibits -
Museum staff can add to the bin items over time (or invite visitors to invent new objects!). Objects can be designed to produce fun or eerie theatrical effects, as well as to demonstrate scientific principles.
The set of custom computer controls offer visitors finely-tuned manipulation of the characteristics of the magnetic fields. User controls include: