Koen shares his thoughts and a peek into his design process.
There are so many ways to have fun with balls that it became clear early on that we would have to have more than a single exhibit. After some extensive prototyping, we ended up with three distinct parts to our ball area.
The largest part is a series of custom Ball Tracks. Resembling a mini roller coaster, the tracks have interesting features such as a loop-de-loop and spiral well. You decide where, when and how often to launch your ball.
Our brand-new Ball Machine retains some of the popular elements of our old machine and adds many new ones. Various kid-powered lifting devices move the balls through an intricate maze, activating surprising interactions along the way. Back are old favorites such as an Archimedes screw and Ferris wheel. New are some exciting additions such as the xylophone staircase—which was designed by Anne Mayoral, a talented design engineer who runs the Girls in Engineering summer program at UC Berkeley. Anne and our Exhibit Technician, George Carpenter, were instrumental in the building of the ball machine.