Two Bit Circus hopes to create a STEAM - that's Science Technology Engineering Art and Math - Carnival. The basic idea is to take traditional midway attractions and bring them up-to-date using robot/computer tech - plus a little chemistry, physics, math and art thrown in.
One of the two people behind Two Bit Circus is Brent Bushnell and, yes, he is the son of Nolan who founded Atari and went on to pioneer animatronics. Brent has a history of creating interesting contraptions (see: Rube Goldberg music video for OK Go) and now he has teamed up with Eric Gradman, roboticist and circus performer, to build lots of fire-breathing, sparking, high-voltage, impressive games.
If you want to see the sort of thing they have in mind then take a look at their Kickstarter promo video:
It all looks like great fun, but they claim that there is a serious side to it all:
"You've heard of STEM... but we agree with John Maeda of RISD and MIT that Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math aren't complete without Art. Our culture isn't doing enough to get kids interested in STEAM. As professional inventors, we rely on these disciplines every day, and want to share our excitement about them with kids young and old. Through years of building and demonstrating fun games we've learned no better way to get kids into STEAM than to show them an amazing time. When you say 'engineering' to most kids they zone out. But when you say 'lasers, robots, and fire,' you have their undivided attention."
Couldn't agree more!
They plan to bring the STEAM Carnival to lots of places by packing it up onto a train. First stop Los Angeles and then San Francisco sometime next year.
To make all this possible they are running a Kickstarter campaign where you can pledge some money in return for a STEAM Carnival sticker, poster, ticket and so on.
So far they have raised $38,000 of their target $100,000 but it is early days and at the time of writing there is still 20 plus days to go.