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ZOOM InventorLabs: Technology
$9.95 (Win95/98/Me/XP/Mac) (Jewel Case) (INVENLABDJ)

Publisher: Red Hill Studios / Houghton Mifflin Interactive / SelectSoft Publishing

Reference

Ages: 10 and up

Ratings:

Gold - Young Adult Title - Entertainment & Edutainment from New Media's 1996 Invision Awards

84% from boot

Experience the Thrill of Hands-on Discovery...

Have you ever wondered how everyday objects such as the telephone, light bulb and movie camera came into being? InventorLabs Technology invites you to enter the fascinating worlds of three great inventors and recreate their amazing discoveries. Conduct electrifying experiments in Thomas Edison's turn-of-the-century laboratory. Reinvent the telephone with Alexander Graham Bell, and hear the clang of pistons and the hiss of steam as you enter James Watt's 18th century workshop. Science springs to life in a thrilling, hands-on exploration of the greatest inventors in history.

Explore their amazing laboratories! You'll be transported to another world as you wander through each laboratory, opening drawers, picking up tools and exploring real drawings, sketches and notebooks. Meet the extraordinary men who helped shape the future. Probe the innermost workings of their remarkable inventions. Then test your wits by conducting dozens of experiments with hundreds of unique outcomes.

Master the art of scientific inquiry! Like the great inventors, you'll learn from your failures as much as your accomplishments. An Experiment Diary records your progress as you master the art of scientific observation, experimentation and analysis. You'll build modern-day skills as you solve the great engineering puzzles of yesteryear.

Thomas Alva Edison

The "Wizard of Menlo Park" started out as an enterprising newsboy in Port Huron, Michigan. Fired for negligence from a telegrapher's job at age 16, Edison went on to acquire over 300 patents, including the world's first toaster, phonograph, stock ticker, movie camera and talking doll.

See the light as you reinvent the incandescent light bulb. Test different filaments and vacuums, and discover the basic principles of electrical circuits and resistance. Inspect the inner workings of the tin foil phonograph, and turn it in all directions. Hear the world's first phonographic recording and examine the world's first talking doll. Watch actual turn-of-the-century movies on Edison's peephole kinetoscope. Explore his hand-written patents along with dozens of notes and sketches from his original scrapbook.

Alexander Graham Bell

The inventor of the telephone was a passionate educator and innovator whose discoveries contributed to the modern airplane, telegraph, phonograph and metal detector. Fascinated by the science of flight, Bell was an enthusiastic aviator and kite builder. He pioneered a hydrofoil which held the world's record for the fastest speedboat of his day.

Reinvent the telephone by experimenting with different needles, liquids and mouthpieces, and master the principles of sound transmission. Investigate sound mixing, pitch and frequency as you learn about sound waves and their characteristics. View a life in pictures, from Bell's early school days and marriage to a former deaf student, to scientific dramatizations published by newspapers of his day.

James Watt

Master craftsman, chemist and inventor, Watt labored for over 10 years on the steam engine design that ultimately ushered in the industrial revolution. After working nights and weekends to stave off creditors, Watt realized his great innovation one fine Sunday afternoon, while strolling on his native Glasgow Green.

Immerse yourself in the authentic sights and sounds of an 18th century workshop as you explore Watt's steam engine from every angle and perspective. Learn the principles of gears, heat and temperature through fascinating experiments that you control. Explore the precision instruments of a laboratory, from surveying tools and a magnetic compass to rare mathematical instruments.

Investigations - Ready, Set, Explore!

Nine interactive exercises allow you to explore the effects of lenses, experiment with different types of wings to make things fly, create electrical circuits to determine the optimum path and mix sound waves to see how they travel. The investigations let you explore the scientific principles behind the inventions.

Navigate with ease throughout the program. With the click of your mouse, you can explore the laboratories of the world's greatest inventors of technological wonders.

Edison's Lab

Harrison Gregory, a retired engineer, portrays Thomas Alva Edison in this production.

Requirements:

Windows - 90mhz Pentium, 2x CD-ROM drive, 16mb RAM, SVGA graphics card, Microsoft compatible sound card .

Macintosh - System 7.5 to 9.2 (Only), 68040 or higher or PowerPC, iMAC or G3 or higher, 16mb ram, 2x CD-ROM, 256-color display, Mouse.


Reviews:

boot, October 1996

"The best educational software appeals to adults as much as it does to children. Through judicious use of the latest technology, InventorLabs takes you on a compelling, immersive trip into the worlds of three famous inventors; Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell, and James Watt.

"The title opens with video sequences in which actors portraying Edison, Bell, and Watt introduce themselves and discuss the inspiration and research that went into their discoveries. The action then shifts into a virtual-reality mode in which you can explore the labs in which the men worked. Houghton Mifflin went to great lengths to achieve historical accuracy in modelling these labs. Each room was rendered in 3D, mapped with photo-realistic textures for realism, and filled with tools and other objects the inventors would have had at their disposal.

"Thanks to QuickTime VR, you can pick up and manipulate nearly all these objects. You can even use the equipment to conduct your own experiments. In Edison's lab, for example, you can 'invent' the first incandescent light bulb. In the process, you might discover how little you really know about the science that went into this invention.

"And that's the real value of this title. This isn't mind-boggling new technolgy, it's just technology put to excellent use. Whether you're a college grad or a junior-high-school student, your knowledge of these men and their inventions was probably acquired by rote: Edison invented the light bulb, Bell invented the telephone, Watt invented the steam engine. InventorLabs offers an enjoyable means of gaining a deeper understanding - through exploration, experimentation, and discovery - so these topics become more than trivia-game answers."

 


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