Triassic Park

The small donation bowl for the Nevada State Museum in Las Vegas was easy for clients to miss.

So why not remake it into something with some teeth? Actually.

The Pals of the Nevada State Museum connected to entertainment, engineering and style professor Si Jung Kim searching for help. They wanted to improve the museum visitors’ experience while motivating contributions.

A group of 10 students from Kim’s production design class came together to create a box featuring a three-dimensional model of the state fossil, the ichthyosaur. Home entertainment, engineering and design is a joint endeavor between the College of Engineering and the College of Art.

The students, who covered disciplines from biology to civil and environmental engineering to home entertainment, engineering and design, turned their sights on designing an interactive model that would be distinct to the museum.

“The brainstorming was the most complex and gratifying part of the process,” stated civil engineering freshman Ben Dancel.

They focused on prehistoric Nevada, when the ichthyosaur wandered the waters that utilized to blanket the region. The extinct marine reptile from the Triassic duration (before the dinosaurs) had a long undulating body with flippers and a pronounced jaw full of sharp teeth.

Students created a model that featured the reptile and a small human figurine. The ichthyosaur could grow as big as a school bus and the comparison between the sea monster and the human offers visitors a frightening frame of reference.

The style was printed and donated by local 3D printing company Moment 3D. Package likewise includes a number of tracks so donors can race coins past the figures into the tank, making contributions an experience in itself.

Lastly, the box was fit with color-changing LED lights and set up at the museum.

“It’s not simply exactly what you find out in the classroom. You need to find out beyond the class and bring it into practice,” said Rama Venkat, dean of the Howard R. Hughes College of Engineering.

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