Clemson's STEAM exhibit returns to Artisphere for fourth year

Published on Monday, May 1, 2017

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Clemson's STEAM exhibit returns to Artisphere for fourth year

Clemson University

Enlarge photo

Clemson University

Enlarge photo

Clemson University

By Paul Alongi
Clemson University

The bells will be ringing atop Clemson University’s Tillman Hall, but the people choosing which notes to play will be tapping a keyboard and listening from an arts festival in downtown Greenville.

It’s a connection made possible by an app and website that students created as part of the university’s celebrated Creative Inquiry program and that will be shared with the public as Clemson’s STEAM Exhibit returns to Artisphere for a fourth year.

The bell ringing will be among 17 activities geared for all ages that shine a light on how science, technology, engineering, arts and math complement each other. The public response to the exhibit in years past has been huge, with more than 75,000 visiting last year alone.

Some of this year’s activities are big hits returning for another run, and several will be making their festival debut. Visitors can expect to venture into virtual reality worlds, play an underwater musical instrument and program robots to draw on paper.

One new activity will allow visitors to design an operating room in virtual reality while the audience observes their brainwave activity. Another will teach children about protecting the environment by having them make art out of recycled materials.

The STEAM Exhibit will be free and open to the public for the duration of the festival, which runs May 12-14.

The exhibit will be in the same place as the first three years, the corner of Main and Broad streets next to Grill Marks restaurant.

Here’s a list of activities scheduled:

Color Booth

Experiment with the effects of colored light in this exhibit. Learn how theatrical lighting designers make informed decisions when picking colored filters for lights on stage. Visitors can see and experiment with the effects of colored light on theatre scenery and costumes, and play a challenging guessing game.


The STEAM outreach network of the College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences, has developed hands-on activities for K-12 students, families, and other festivalgoers.

Big Data is All Around Us

Gummy bears and virtual reality will help illustrate how many data points a single person leaves in a year. Each gummy bear will represent a single data point, such as a phone call, credit transaction or a log-in. Visitors will also be asked questions about Greenville, and their answers will be added to a live database illustrated in a diagram on a large screen. Small children can help build a visualization using chalk and a chalkboard and will receive a gummy bear with parental permission.

Recycled Art

This activity will help educate children about how they can turn trash into something useful, reducing the amount of garbage produced by humans. It will make them more familiar with recycling and teaches them about caring for the environment, while triggering innovation.

Kinetic Energy Visualized IN Art (KEVIN)

Discover the visual delights of variable motion with these kinetic sculptures. This exhibit displays sculptures that use wind power, gravity, motors, and strobe lights to provide unique visual effects.

Real-time Brain Response to Designing a Virtual Operating Room 

This experience will allow the user to wear a head-mounted device that provides external input (virtual reality) and internal input (brain wave activity). The user will be able to move equipment in a virtual reality world to design an operating room while the audience observes the user’s brainwave activity in real time.

Playing Fraction Pies

Connect your knowledge of fractions and equivalency to musical notes and rhythms.  Simply choose your fractions and press play. Your fractions will transform into a musical composition you can see and hear.

Small Bugs Making Big Waves: How Microbes Benefit Humankind

Despite being so small that they are invisible to our eyes, the microorganisms in our world have a big impact on our lives. This exhibit combines the art of microscopy and the viewing of these microbes with a connection to the daily application of the everyday things they provide. Come by for a live view under a microscope as well as past images of these mysterious creatures and examples of their hidden contributions to society.

Coding for the Carillon: Automating Clemson's Bell Tower

Watch live video and audio feed from the top of Clemson's iconic bell tower as songs play entirely automatically through a system implemented by a team of Clemson students in a Creative Inquiry project. Visitors can interact with the bells in real time through a virtual display and keyboard.

Science as Art 2017

Science as Art has challenged Clemson University students, faculty and staff, as well as pre-college students around the state, to share the powerful and inspiring visual images produced in laboratories, workspaces and learning environments. Science as Art aims to draw interest and understanding of science, technology, engineering and mathematics through visually captivating images that are described in basic terms.

The Magnificent Microcosm If you have ever wondered what a butterfly mouth or a starfish looks like under a microscope, you will not want to miss “The Magnificent Microcosm,” sponsored by the Clemson Light Imaging Facility.  You will have the chance to look at samples under a microscope, see images from our “HOOKEd on Microscopy” contest, and build your own hologram projector to use with a Smartphone or tablet.

Drawing with Robots:  R2D2 Meets Rembrandt

This exhibit is an interactive activity that introduces children and young adults to computing programing through art.  They write the code for shape they wish to create and download it to a small Scribbler robot that then “draws” their picture. 

Cutting, Folding, and Stacking: Turning Paper into Resilient Structures

In this hands-on exhibit, attendees will try to fold a piece of paper into a tessellated structure as a scaled model bridge and use precut pieces of cardboard to create a structurally sound mini chair. The purpose of this exhibit is to show that different geometric designs can affect the strength and stability of a structure.

Light Flow

Did you know that optical technologies such as lasers and optical fibers are important for applications ranging from communications to healthcare?  This interactive exhibit invites participants to learn more about these technologies from a highly visual and artistic perspective. Light Flow offers opportunities to manipulate laser light with water, send music from a mobile phone to a speaker with a laser beam, and create your own colorful shapes using a special form of light-diffusing optical fiber.

Clemson Baja SAE

Clemson Baja is student designed and driven organization where participants challenge engineering principles by building a fully capable off-road vehicle.

Drawbot and Air Piston Musical Instrument

Use an iPad to control a Drawbot to create fun pictures from audio files. Come play a unique musical instrument using a rotating disk with specific hole sizes on it and pistons producing the air needed to make sound. Visitors can use the pistons to produce sounds and musical notes.

Biomimetics – Showcasing Nature through the Eyes of an Engineer

Experience the power and creativity of Mother Nature, from a simple abalone shell to powerful synthetic shark jaws and prehensile seahorse tail marionette.




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