Otronicon Keynote Speaker: Kate Edwards

Kate Edwards Presents: Career Paths into Game Creation

The countdown to Otronicon is on! From hands-on workshops to interactive exhibits, all ages are invited to ignite their passion for STEM learning! 
 
With Otronicon quickly approaching, we'd like to introduce you to Otronicon's keynote speaker, Kate Edwards.

Abstract: 

Video games are the most popular form of entertainment today, with annual global sales surpassing both movie and music revenue combined, as well as all live sports around the world! They’re a cultural and economic phenomenon that’s changing the way people experience stories and how we play together as communities.
 
The majority of people play some kind of game today, but have you ever thought of creating your own? Today, game creation tools are powerful and free, and more people are using games as a form of self-expression. Come hear how you can become a part of the growing global face of game creation regardless of your background (psst – you don’t have to be a programmer!)

Presentation Info:

Title: Career Paths into Game Creation
 
Date: Saturday, January 18, 2020
 
Times: 1:30 p.m. 
 
Location: Digital Adventure Theater, Level 2
 
Format: 20-minute presentation followed by a short Q&A
 
*Schedule is subject to change. Doors open 15 minutes prior to presentation. 

About Our Keynote: 

Kate Edwards is the Executive Director of the Global Game Jam, as well as the CEO and principal consultant of Geogrify, a consultancy which pioneered content culturalization. She is also a Board Member of Take This and is the former Executive Director of the International Game Developers Association (IGDA) from 2012 to 2017. In addition to being an award-winning advocate who serves in several advisory roles, she is a geographer, writer, and corporate strategist.
 
Following 13 years at Microsoft, she has consulted on many game and non-game projects for BioWare, Google, Amazon, Facebook, LEGO, and many other companies. Fortune magazine named her as one of the "10 most powerful women" in the game industry in 2013 and in 2014 was named by GamesIndustry.biz as one of their six People of the Year. In 2018, she was honored with Reboot Develop’s annual Hero Award and also presented with IndieCade’s annual Game Changer Award, and in 2019 she was presented with a Special Award from GameRome for her ongoing service to the global game industry. She is also profiled in the December 2018 publication Women in Gaming: 100 Professionals of Play.

Otronicon Ignites Lifelong Passion for STEM

Mackenzie Liezert has always wanted to know how things work. She, like many native Central Floridians, visited Orlando Science Center several times throughout her childhood. This was the perfect way for her to unleash her curiosity and learn about the world around her. These visits were an enjoyable part of her childhood, but the Science Center took on a whole new meaning once she began her college career at the University of Central Florida. In January 2019, Mackenzie attended Otronicon as a volunteer with her fraternity. There, she was enthralled with the amount of science and technology available to discover.

 

“People underestimate how much there is to do,” says Mackenzie. “It isn’t just for people who are tech-obsessed. It’s a fun way to hang out and try something new.”

 

One of her favorite parts of volunteering at Otronicon was seeing how much attendees were enjoying the event. This passion, along with extra free time in the upcoming summer, inspired her to become an Orlando Science Center volunteer. Now, she’s a valuable member of the Visitor Experience volunteer team, stocking and managing supplies that make every guest experience exciting and memorable. Her favorite part of her role is that it encourages her to try new things and be an integral part creating unforgettable guest experiences.

 

As someone who grew up loving science but not feeling it was the right path for her to pursue, volunteering with the Science Center is a perfect way for Mackenzie to stay involved with science and continue discovering. As she continues pursuing her Bachelor’s degree in public administration, we can’t wait to see how far Mackenzie’s passions and thirst to continue learning will lead her in life. 

Otronicon 2020 is currently looking for enthusiastic volunteers ages 13 and up! To learn more, or to register click here. 

Admission: Otronicon is free for OSC members, $21.00 for adults, $19.00 for seniors and students, and $15.00 for youth (ages 2-11).

 

Otronicon Hours: 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily.

 

Science Night Live Featuring Otronicon: Taking place on Saturday, January 18 from 8:00 p.m. to 11:30 p.m., SNL is a 21-and-up event, and requires a separate ticket. Click here to purchase SNL tickets.

 

For more information, please call 407.514.2000 or visit the Otronicon website. 

Hack into the BIGGEST savings of the year on Cyber Monday!

Life Hack: Ditch the plastic packaging 

Tired of gifts that will be outgrown or outdated in two months? This holiday season ditch the plastic packging and gift an experience. Gift learning. Gift a membership! During Orlando Science Center’s  Cyber Monday sale on December 2 we're offering you the biggest discount of the year on memberships! 

 

SAVE 15% OFF MEMBERSHIPS

A child and her mother building structures with magnetic tiles.

Become a Member

The best deal in town just got better! Enjoy unlimited general admission, exclusive Member-Only events, discounts, and even more perks. 

A group of adults do experiments together in Dr. Dare's Lab.

Gift a Membership

Gift Memberships expire one year from the date of redemption. There is no time limit on redeeming the E-Gift Certificate. Learn more.

 Not a member? 

Don’t miss out on all the amazing events in 2020! 

 

An annual membership to the Science Center includes FREE unlimited general admission, FREE parking, , FREE admission to adults -only Science Night Live, unlimited educational and Hollywood films, free or discounted admission to 350 museums and science centers across the world, discounts at The Science Store, The Coffee Spot, and on Summer and Break Camps and more!

audience look at a dinosaur
FREE unlimited general admission, parking, and four guest passes per year!
Guest using virtual reality equipment
FREE admission to all four days of Otronicon including Science Night Live!
Kids doing science experiments
Be the FIRST to sign up for Summer Camps during the Member Pre-Sale!
Pompeii: The Immortal City
Experience blockbuster exhibit Pompeii: The Immortal City for FREE!
Today only 15%

 

 

 We did the math for you! 

 

Don’t want to leave the house to get the greatest deals? No problem!

· Individual memberships discounted from $125 to $106.25

· Duo Memberships discounted from $145 to $123.25

· Family Memberships discounted from $165 to $140.25

· Grandparent Memberships discounted from $165 to $140.25

 

Already a member?

While current members already receive a discount when renewing or gifting a membership, this is an especially great deal because their discount will be even BIGGER than usual, so don't miss out!

 

Add-ons for Family and Grandparent Membership levels are available to customize your membership, simply choose your membership level, and purchase your add-ons at your next visit. Add one additional adult who can check in all year for just $25, limit two additions per membership. Or, if you'd like more flexibility, add the Caregiver pass for $50, which can be used by one different adult every visit. Add-ons are available for purchase in person at OSC, or by calling 407.514.2158.

 

Holiday Films & Festive Laser Light Shows at Orlando Science Center!

Get into the Holiday spirit with themed Hollywood films and a festive Laser Light show in the Dr. Phillips CineDome! Go on an adventure with Stick Man and find out if he'll make it home in time for Christmas in Stick Man! Then, join the happiest, dancing penguin, in Happy Feet! View the Theater Schedule before you arrive for showtimes.
 

Stick Man 

December 21—January 5

Out for his regular jog, Stick Man is picked up by a playful dog and launched on a series of unfortunate adventures that take him ever further away from home. The seasons pass, until Stick Man meets a surprising friend who might just be able to help him get back. But will he make it home in time for Christmas?
 

Happy Feet

December 19—22, December 26—29, January 2—5

In the world of the emperor penguin, a simple song can mean the difference between a lifetime of happiness and an eternity of loneliness. When a penguin named Mumble is born without the ability to sing the romantic song that will attract his soul mate, he'll have to resort to some fancy footwork by tap dancing his way into the heart of the one he loves. Directed by Babe mastermind George Miller, Happy Feet tells the tale of one penguin's quest for love, and features an all-star cast of vocal talent that includes Robin Williams, Hugh Jackman, Elijah Wood, Nicole Kidman, and Brittany Murphy. 
 

Holiday Laser Light Show

2:00 p.m. daily, December 21—January 5

Come follow Squeaky the Penguin on an adventure!  

 

Orlando Science Center has holiday fun down to a science! Join us through December for wintry programming, including our Dinos In Lights festive show and "cool" holiday activities like a live liquid nitrogen show, gift-making activities, winter-themed experiments, and more! Click here to learn more. 

All films and holiday programming are included with general admission to Orlando Science Center, which is FREE for Members, $21 for adults, $19 for seniors and students, and $15 for youth (ages 2 – 11). 

 

To become a member for unlimited access to Orlando Science Center all year long, discounts to camps, and special member-only events, click here or call 407.514.2158.

Smash (Bros) Stereotypes at Otronicon

It’s time to smash the stereotype that video games are a trivial and lazy pastime. Anyone who games knows that being an expert gamer takes endless time, dedication, and skill. They also know that just as much goes into the creation of these wildly complex and immersive games. But how does a great game concept get transformed into the games that enthrall millions of gamers worldwide? The answer, is science. 

 

Get an immersive, exciting and comprehensive look into the science that has made your favorite games come to life at Otronicon 2020. Meet the gaming industry leaders that will not only show off their creations, but take you through their creation process, from concept to final product. Then, take your knowledge to the next level by joining our interactive gaming workshops! Gather your team, plan your concept and go through the thrilling and challenging design process. 

 

Don’t forget to show off your skills at Otronicon’s gaming competitions. Go head-to-head with other gamers, use some of the latest gaming systems and compete for cash prizes. This is your chance to prove that there’s more than an art to gaming, there’s a science.

 

Here are just a few of the gaming exhibitors and workshops you have to look forward to:

  • Powder Keg Games: hosts video game tournaments on consoles Nintendo, PlayStation, and Xbox. Titles include Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Street Fighter, Pokken Tournament DX, Dragon Ball FighterZ, and more! Click here to learn more. 
  • Volusia County Schools who will show their work in game development and simulation.
  • Indie Game developers: Theory Studios, SlifkerGames, Suckerbird Games, PSI Games and more will be in attendance with interactive games to test and play. 
  • Microsoft: Interact with the world’s most powerful Xbox console. 
  • Magic Bytes is an international education and entertainment game publisher. Learn how they are creating modern video games that emphasize education values. 

 

Click here to view more exhibitors and workshops. 

Admission: Otronicon is free for OSC members, $21.00 for adults, $19.00 for seniors and students, and $15.00 for youth (ages 2-11).

 

Otronicon Hours: 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily.

 

Science Night Live Featuring Otronicon: Taking place on Saturday, January 18 from 8:00 p.m. to 11:30 p.m., SNL is a 21-and-up event, and requires a separate ticket. Click here to purchase SNL tickets.

 

For more information, please call 407.514.2000 or visit the Otronicon website. 

The Best Holiday Gift Idea for Everyone on Your List!

Tired of giving gifts that will be outgrown or out dated in a month? It’s not rocket science, gift an experience that can be used again and again! This holiday season, consider gifting an Orlando Science Center annual membership! Memberships come in a variety of levels, so whether you’re shopping for yourself or a loved one, there’s an option for everyone. 

Say Bye Bye to Boredom!

Orlando Science Center Members are granted unlimited general admission and free parking. With four floors of exhibit halls, live stage shows, educational films, Hollywood movies, workshops, special events, and more, never have the same experience twice!   

Members Get First Dibs

As a member, your luck gift recipients will get discounts on summer and break camps as well as the ability to book their camps first with the Member Pre-Sale. Additionally, members are among the first to preview traveling exhibits such as Pompeii: The Immortal City, and enjoy KidsTown from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. before the rest of the building opens to the general public. 

Event Tickets and Benefits to Brag About

Members receive FREE admission to special events including our biggest events of the year; Otronicon Interactive Tech Expo, and Adult- Only Science Night Live, as well as our member-only event Pumpkins & Protons Party. Members also receive discounts at The Science Store, The Coffee Spot, and Subway, as well as discounts on educational programs, birthday parties, gift memberships, and even when they renew their membership for another year of science learning and fun! 

Park Museum Hop like a Pro! 

As a member of Orlando Science Center, you can get free or discounted admission to 350 museums and science centers across the world through the Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC) Travel Passport Program.  Restrictions apply.

Sign Me Up!

Gift memberships can be purchased at any time but your year won’t begin until the membership is activated on the first visit. With a variety of membership levels to choose from, this is the perfect gift for anyone in your life! So this holiday season, STEM away from the plastic packaging and give the gift that keeps on giving. Gift a membership!

Don’t forget, you can customize your membership with add-ons available for Family and Grandparent Membership levels. Along with unlimited admission for everyone on a membership plan, all membership levels (except for the College Membership) come with four FREE Member Guests Passes per year. That’s an 4 value!

Artificial Intelligence Q&A With Kenneth Stanley

Traveling Exhibit Artificial Intelligence: Your Mind and The Machine made its world premiere at Orlando Science Center this fall, and has since transformed the way many of us think about Artificial Intelligence. What we've learned is AI is actually more helpful than harmful, and is being used in spectacular ways across the world. 

 

In an effort to continue the AI conversation, and to inspire people with an interest in a career in artificial intelligence or technology, we caught up with Kenneth Stanley, a Professor of Computer Science at the University of Central Florida and a senior research science manager and head of Core AI research at Uber AI Labs. 

  1. How did you become first interested in artificial intelligence? I started to learn about computer programming at age 8 in a class at summer camp. I was right away fascinated with the idea that the right programming could make the computer act intelligent and creative.  At first I was mainly thinking about the computer having convincing conversations with me, but over time I realized that intelligence is a broad and deep set of problems, and I became interested in intelligence and particularly creativity in general.
  2. What course of study did you pursue to prepare you for your career? I took computer science classes (including the AP class on computer science) at Newton South high school in Newton, MA, and then majored in computer science in college at the University of Pennsylvania.  I also minored in cognitive science because I thought an understanding of human cognition would help me in trying to build AI.  I went on from college to pursue a Ph.D. in computer science at the University of Texas at Austin under Professor Risto Miikkulainen, where I specialized in neural networks and evolutionary computation, which when combined is called neuroevolution.
  3. When did you know that you wanted to work in this field? Since about the age of 8 when I took the programming class.  The idea that you could write a piece of code to make a computer intelligent immediately struck me as profound, even at such a young age.
  4. What has surprised you the most about your work with AI? Probably the most surprising are specific discoveries I made with my collaborators that were unexpected.  Most surprising perhaps was the discovery that sometimes the best way to learn a solution to a problem is to not try to solve it.  In other words, setting objectives can get in the way of achievement, counter-intuitively.  This discovery was so surprising that we wrote a whole book about it called Why Greatness Cannot Be Planned.
  5. What’s a common misconception that people have when you tell them you work with artificial intelligence? Some people think that it means I'm good at installing software on computers, which I'm not any better at than anyone else.  There is also some general misunderstanding on how far along the field is and what kinds of dangers it might present.  While it does present many challenges to society, often people don't have an accurate sense of where we are along that spectrum.
  6. How do you see AI affecting us, specifically in Central Florida and generally as a culture? This question is discussed so often that almost everything has been said at this point about automation of services and rapid access to answers and information.  Robotics is another obvious outgrowth.  But I think perhaps a more interesting direction for speculation is in the opportunity for magnified creativity: can intelligent computers magnify our potential as human beings to express our creative instincts?  Along with that, perhaps AI will become easier to use by non-experts, opening up its benefits, and the ability to explore its potential, to a much wider audience than is possible today.
  7. What’s the greatest benefit to humanity to artificial intelligence, in your opinion? I think it's too early to say.  Its impact is potentially so profound that we cannot yet imagine it accurately.  But one thing that I believe it can do that is at least very important if not necessarily greatest of all, is to help us understand ourselves.  After all, our intelligence is the inspiration for AI, and the closer we come to something similar, the more we can understand why we are the way we are, and hopefully from that how we can be better.

About Kenneth Stanley: 

Kenneth O. Stanley is a Charles Millican Professor of Computer Science at the University of Central Florida and director of the Evolutionary Complexity Research Group. He was also a co-founder of Geometric Intelligence Inc., which was acquired by Uber to create Uber AI Labs, where he is now also a senior research science manager and head of Core AI research. 

 

He received a B.S.E. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1997 and received a Ph.D. in 2004 from the University of Texas at Austin. He is an inventor of the Neuroevolution of Augmenting Topologies (NEAT), HyperNEAT, and novelty search neuroevolution algorithms for evolving complex artificial neural networks. His main research contributions are in neuroevolution (i.e. evolving neural networks), generative and developmental systems, coevolution, machine learning for video games, interactive evolution, and open-ended evolution.

Big Pompeii Announcement for Orlando Science Center Members

Pompeii: The Immortal City is on its way, and the good news keeps on coming! Orlando Science Center is thrilled to announce that members can experience this summer blockbuster experience FREE!

 

In the past, large blockbuster exhibits such as this required an upcharge for Science Center members. However, thanks to the support of Orange County Government through the Arts and Cultural Affairs program, a grant from the Tourist Development Tax Blockbuster Fund has covered many of the substantial costs to bring the exhibit to Orlando and we are passing the savings onto you!

Through art, music and an immersive 360 projection experience, Pompeii: The Immortal City will transport guests back in time to 79 AD. Orlando will be one of only four sites in the United States to host this state of the art exhibit. 

"This award exemplifies Orange County’s belief in the value of arts and cultural organizations to our community,” said Orlando Science Center CEO and President JoAnn Newman. “We are grateful for their support and look forward to presenting this unique exhibition and featured programming to the communities of Orange County and the greater Central Florida region.”

Terry Olsen and JoAnn Newman from Orange County Arts and Cultural Affairs and Orlando Science Center

Along with FREE entry, annual members will be invited to attend an exclusive Member-Only Preview of the exhibit before it opens to the general public. Pompeii: The immortal City will be a timed ticket experience, so guests are encouraged to reserve tickets in advance. As an added benefit, Orlando Science Center members will be able to reserve their complimentary tickets before they are available to the general public!

 

Make sure your membership is up to date so you don’t miss these benefits. Renew your membership today by emailing oscmembership@osc.org or calling 407.514.2158 and receive 10% off!

Not a member yet? Don’t miss out on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!

Purchase a membership or gift a membership today to receive all of these benefits and more, including:

  • FREE general admission and parking
  • FREE admission to special ticketed events including all four days of Otronicon, Science Night Live, and more
  • Member-Only events and special offers
  • Discounts on summer camps and the ability to book your camps first with the Member Pre-Sale
  • And so much more!

With a variety of membership levels, benefits, and upcoming events, it’s a great time to get, renew, or even gift a membership!   

Arts & Cultural Affairs Orange County Government Florida

Pompeii: The Immortal City is funded in part by Orange County Government through the Arts & Cultural Affairs Program.

From Otronicon Attendee to Event Producer: An OSC Intern’s Story

Jesslyn Parrish walked into Otronicon 2019 to see some of her professors’ STEM research projects in action. She walked out as a future Orlando Science Center intern, a potential gamer and reconsidering her plans to leave Orlando to pursue a tech career.

 

As a first-time Otronicon attendee, Jesslyn had no expectations for the four-day STEM expo. However, upon attending the event, she was blown away by the sheer number of experiences, workshops, speakers and exhibitors that filled the Science Center. Instead of simply checking out some research, she was faced with rooms and rooms of the most cutting-edge technology in gaming, entertainment, science and medicine.  

 

“It really showed me how many opportunities there are to get involved in the tech world right here in Central Florida,” Says Jesslyn. “I had originally thought I would have to consider moving to California after graduating in a few years.” At its core, this is what Otronicon is all about. Showing Orlando residents that there are countless ways to become involved in the future of STEM that’s being built right in our own backyard. Otronicon provides guests of all ages the resources they need to start a STEM career.

 

Only at Otronicon can Orlando residents speak directly with leaders in their field, get invaluable advice from expert-led speakers and learn new STEM skills in engaging workshops. From the major companies at the forefront of innovation, to the start-ups that will shape the future, Orlando hosts some of the top organizations to start a STEM career with. This was particularly exciting for Jesslyn, who is exceptionally familiar with the importance of networking as a graduate student. At Otronicon, she was able to interact directly with leaders of tech organizations that she could one day be working for. 

 

If Jesslyn could describe Otronicon in one word, it would be “inspiring.” Not only did it inspire her to change the way she views Orlando’s tech industry, it also inspired her to become an Orlando Science Center events intern. Now, Jesslyn is responsible for coordinating and implementing events just like Otronicon at the Science Center. While this step in Jesslyn’s professional development is impressive and inspiring enough, there’s still one unexpected part of her Otronicon experience that can’t go unmentioned. Jesslyn, a self-proclaimed uncertain gamer, was tempted into picking up the controller and testing out the newest video game technology at Otronicon. Now that’s inspiring!

Orlando Science Center is looking for enthusiastic volunteers (ages 13 and up!) to help at this year's Otronicon. Fill out the form below to register.

Admission: Otronicon is free for OSC members, $21.00 for adults, $19.00 for seniors and students, and $15.00 for youth (ages 2-11).

 

Otronicon Hours: 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily.

 

Science Night Live Featuring Otronicon: Taking place on Saturday, January 18 from 8:00 p.m. to 11:30 p.m., SNL is a 21-and-up event, and requires a separate ticket. Click here to purchase SNL tickets.

 

For more information, please call 407.514.2000 or visit the Otronicon website. 

Holiday Fun at the Science Center

Orlando Science Center has holiday fun down to a science!

Join us through December for wintry programming, including our Dinos In Lights festive show and "cool" holiday activities like a live liquid nitrogen show, gift-making activities, winter-themed experiments, and more!

Dinos In Lights

Add some sparkle to the holiday season and see some of your favorite creatures from the Cretaceous in a whole new light with the festive Dinos In Lights show at Orlando Science Center! 
 
Join STAN the T-Rex and his fossil friends in DinoDigs as they show off their twinkling talent in a festive display of music and light. Each family-friendly show will run about four minutes and concludes with a wintry surprise.
 
This dazzling light show is included in general admission for a limited time so don't miss out! Be sure to see it multiple times on your visit as the experience is different from every angle. Shows begin every 30 minutes between 11:00 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. daily from November 23 through January 7.

Winter Science Month Programming

Celebrate togetherness & collaboration during this winter science season! Participate in STEM challenges, winte- themed workshops and lab experiments, and enjoy fan favorite-shows like High Voltage! Brand new this season is Orlando Science Center Family Face Off, running select weekends in December!
 
Plus celebrate Noon Year’s Eve rawr-ing 20’s style! Come in your best Gatsby gear as we celebrate the New Year a little early from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
 

View the Science Live! Schedule before you arrive for a list of that day's special activites. 

Tesla coil electricity

Holiday Films & Laser Light Show

Get into the Holiday spirit with themed Hollywood films and a festive Laser Light show in the Dr. Phillips CineDome! 
 
Go on an adventure with Stick Man and find out if he'll make it home in time for Christmas in Stick Man! Then, join the happiest, dancing penguin, in Happy Feet
 

View the Theater Schedule before you arrive for a showtimes.

Graphic with 2019 Holiday Film posters Happy Feet and Stick Man

Last Chance To Stop In and See Our Traveling Exhibits!

If you haven’t experienced our fall traveling exhibit Artificial Intelligence: Your Mind & The Machine, be sure to visit before it leaves Orlando Science Center on January 5! 

 

Will we have robot overlords in the future? Can computers really think for themselves? Find out the answers to these questions and more in this engaging and informative exhibit!

Want to experience Winter Science Month all season long? Consider becoming a member so you can come back as often as you'd like to participate in all of the holiday programming. Gift Memberships are also available so you can take care of your holiday shopping list too!