Science live in a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter
The TECH Truck is a mobile learning laboratory. It offers interested people the opportunity to interactively discover science’s large and small wonders. We spoke with the project manager, Teresa Lenling.
At the Perot Museum in Dallas, visitors do not simply stand in front of closed display cases. Instead, they can physically touch the exhibits: the Museum of Nature and Science in Victory Park has been incredibly popular with children and adults since 2006. “The idea of transforming our museum into a mobile project was first discussed about two years ago”, explains Teresa Lenling, Program Director at the Perot Museum, during the interview. The Perot Museum soon gained Dell as an interested partner and together they transformed the idea into reality.
With the TECH Truck we want to offer local groups around Dallas and Fort Worth the opportunity to interactively experience technology and science.
A van full of wonders
The term TECH is an abbreviation of the experience levels “Tinker, Engineer, Create, Hack” which represent the difficulty levels for the curious participants. From paper darts to complex 3D models – the TECH Truck offers children, teenagers and adults practical knowledge for every level of education. And encourages them to develop a confident and curious approach to technology, mathematics and design.
The design and equipment in the Sprinter reflects this flexible approach. “Our employee Patrick Carroll developed a versatile design for the interior which makes the most efficient use of the spacious cargo compartment”, says Mrs. Lenling. The cargo area provides enough space for trolleys and tables which can be set up at the destination. In addition, the cargo area has also been equipped with shelves and workbenches, providing additional space for technical equipment such as 3D printers, laser cutters or laptops. Regardless of whether the instructors and the visitors are right outside the van or inside a closed room – the TECH Truck always remains networked with the participants from its parking place.
The travelling duo
“The Sprinter is the ideal partner for our project objectives”, explains Teresa Lenling with a glance at the colorful van. “It has enough storage space for our technical devices and other equipment. It is efficient and also comfortable to drive even in an urban environment.” The TECH Truck and its team are now on the road an average of four to five days per week and travel to festivals, schools and town centers in the region. Since the project launch last autumn the van has already travelled more than 2,200 miles and Mrs. Lenling and her team expect around 17,000 visitors by the coming summer. The second Sprinter is currently being converted to handle this flood of visitors. The TECH Truck will hit the road as a travelling duo in March.
Perot Museum of Nature and Science
Dallas | USA
Photos: Perot Museum