Arizona Science Center ‘POPnology’ exhibit blends technology, pop culture

Gabrielle White, an employee of the Phoenix Science Museum, fixes her favorite exhibit at POPnology: the mars rover. (Nathan Thrash/DD)

This exhibit at POPnology, where a person can use a robotic arm to move T-rex eggs, is based on Jurassic Park. (Nathan Thrash/DD)

Amanda Mozilo, an employee of the Phoenix Science Museum, plays with her favorite exhibit, which uses the human body as a circuit to make sounds. "I like it because it shows kids how circuits work using their body, which is something they normally wouldn't think about," she said. (Nathan Thrash/DD)

The virtual reality exhibit at POPnology allows attendees to put on googles and be instantly transported to space, ancient Egypt and a dystopian future. (Nathan Thrash/DD)

Gabrielle White and Amanda Mozilo arrange pegs on the giant Lite-Brite exhibit featured at POPnology. (Nathan Thrash/DD)

A combined pop culture and technology-inspired exhibit launched its national tour at the Arizona Science Center on Sunday.

POPnology includes the first 3-D printed car, interactive virtual reality gaming and models of innovative transportation options. The exhibit will be touring science centers, museums and other venues across the United States and Canada.

David Rock, director of exhibits and collections management for the science center, said the exhibit features retro and futuristic items intended to appeal to people of all ages.

A representative of Stage Nine Design, the creators of POPnology, said the exhibit is designed to engage guests on a physical, mental and emotional level and enable hands-on access to advanced technology.

“Science fiction is taking us to science fact,” said Stage Nine Design CEO Troy Carlson.

The exhibit includes a Mars Rover, hands-on robotics, virtual projection games and other futuristic technology.

“We are excited to bring a social component of new technology,” said Chevy Humphrey, president and CEO of Arizona Science Center.

The 9,000-square-foot exhibit is organized into four areas that examine the past, present and future of technology: “How We Play,” “How We Connect,” “How We Move” and “How We Live and Work.”

The How We Play exhibit explores the evolution of gaming with virtual reality gaming and 3-D projected playing fields. How We Connect examines communications technology including social history and the future, while How We Move walks guests through the history and advancement of transportation.

The How We Live and Work area of the exhibit displays current innovations such as 3-D printing, real-world robotics and remote manipulation.

“(The exhibit) can be an inspiration for what children do in the future,” Jay Rogers, CEO of Local Motors and a national sponsor of POPnology, said.

The exhibition will be open through May 15. In addition to the science center admission fee, tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for children.

Contact the reporter at Rebecca.Blascak@asu.edu.