Big Changes Underway At Science Center, Including New Robot That Can Shoot Hoops

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A favorite with kids, and adults, at the Carnegie Science Center is being retired. But have no fear, it’s being replaced with a newer and better version.

And it turns out, that’s just the beginning of some major changes underway.

The attraction is in Roboworld. A robot named “Hoops” that would shoot baskets all day long.

In fact, a thousand shots a day for 22 years.

“People would watch him for a half hour, just counting the shots,” said Dennis Bateman, the senior director of Exhibits and Experience for the Carnegie Science Center.

You could even try your luck against him, but Hoops almost always won with an accuracy rating in the high 90s. Bateman says the physics of it should have been 100 percent, but in the real world there are changes with friction and temperature.

Hoops, however, had become technically obsolete. No one made parts for him anymore. His floppy-disk software is out of date.

So Hoops’ replacement is now being installed. A new robot that should be making shots by the end of the week.

“It’s two times faster,” said Bateman. “It can do a 360-degree spin in about a second.”

There’s also a new robot similar to the claw game you’ve seen at carnivals.

And there’s another new robot planned that’ll map your face and create an image that’ll mimic your facial expressions. Also, a new one that will create music.

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But the biggest change at the Science Center is a major expansion underway on the side facing Downtown. A four-story, $27 million addition that’ll have classrooms, an event space and rooms for more exhibits.

“We have a 14,000-square foot exhibitions gallery, so we can bring in international exhibitions from around the world on King Tut and Leonardo da Vinci and things like that,” said Bateman.

The expansion should be complete by May or June of 2018, and the Science Center will remain open during the construction.

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