Nature Research Center

Visual World Investigate lab

Visual World Investigate Lab Panorama

What is the Visual World Investigate Lab?

The Visual World Investigate Lab (aka the “VisLab”) is a free public laboratory that is open seven days a week and is located on the third floor of the Nature Research Center. The primary focus of the lab is scientific visualizations, a technique used by scientists to understand and draw conclusions from complex data sets. To that end there are a dozen highly specialized computer stations that utilize several programs, some written in the lab, and others that are free for all. About half of the stations utilize augmented reality, which is a technique for augmenting that which is real, with that which is not. Using augmented reality you can hold a 3D model of the world, a dinosaur, and more, in your hand. Alternatively, there is also an electronics station, where the staff create new exhibits and robots live, in front of you, using technologies such as Arduino, Raspberry Pi, and 3D printing. At this station you can participate in impromptu electronics experiments and robotics demonstrations.

Lab Classes

Several types of classes are also taught inside the VisLab, to school groups (public/private/home) and to the general public. These classes are for beginners and include GIS Mapping, Weather, Electronics, Robotics and Computer Programming. To see what is available for school groups during the day, download the Educators Guide. Individuals eleven years old and up can also take our night classes, which are taught twice a month from 6:30pm-8:00pm. Visit the programs and events calendar webpage to find them.

Volunteering and Internship Opportunities

The VisLab depends heavily on daily help from volunteers and interns (without them we would not have the time to create new content for the lab!) Volunteers work with the public to orient them in the lab and answer questions. Interns are assigned projects to complete and are often awarded credit hours by their institutions. Please visit or email us at the addresses below if you are interested volunteering or interning.

Stay up to date on what is going with our lab at the VisLab webblog.

Lab Coordinator: Matthew Faerber, matthew.faerber@naturalsciences.org
Lab Co-coordinator: Walt Gurley , walt.gurley@naturalsciences.org