Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Footsteps - Professor Wellbody's Academy of Health and Wellness

Welcome back readers, and after an awful bloggers block, it's time to get back to the reviewing and investigation of other similar exhibits, around the world, that would have followed in the footsteps of the Wonders of Life pavilion (well, even if not directly).

For this article, not so long ago, an exhibit at the Pacific Science Centre in Seattle, Washington has opened a health-related exhibit, under the title Professor Wellbody's Academy of Health and Wellness, and basically the premise is that this fictitious schooling organisation was named after its founder, Eleanor Wellbody, who thought of how people would take charge on the adoption of healthy habits (in the fields of nutrition, sleep and physical activity), as well as the many numerous fun ways to share them. So, enter this exhibit, paying homage to the state-of-the-art academic institutions (or must I say, the numerous privileged schools of yesteryear), as the Pacific Science Centre explains in a paragraph...

“...this innovative and highly immersive new exhibit will bring guests of all ages into the imaginative world of Professor Wellbody, demonstrating how personal choices can positively affect our health and well-being. Seven-thousand square feet of hands-on inventions, gadgets, activities and experiences will present health as a life-long process of balancing exercise, diet, proper rest and hygiene.”

Considering previous exhibits being reviewed in the Footsteps section (namely You! as well as Sportsworks), Professor Wellbody's Academy contains a wide range of interactive exhibits, designed for a young audience to learn important health skills, but also fascinating and interesting enough for other family members to join in and share the experience. At a glance, the Academy is divided into numerous assigned sections, each with interactive elements that encourage visitors to get involved. The sections are:

    The Sleep Machine, as found in the blog
    Daytime Dad in the Emerald City

  • The Slumbertorium (portmanteau of Slumber and Auditorium), which deals with the importance of sleep, and includes displays such as

    • the Sleep Machine as its primary centerpiece - it demonstrates the many things going on inside the body during sleep in the form of a circular timepiece, its sole hand rotating from one stage to the next

    • the Bed Head gallery, a humorous photographic gallery of messy after-sleep human hairdos taken out of bed after sleep, from the most benign through to the most messy.

    • Sleeping in Seattle, an interactive survey which allows guests to plot in their data on age and sleep habits; data collected is added up with those of other guests to present the results.

    • Sleepability System Maximiser, which explores the many factors that may affect sleep quality, in part or dramatically

    • and a Bad Night's Sleep, which demonstrates how sleep apnea can really affect sleep.

The Playdium exhibit, as seen on
the Lightswitch Portfolio page

  • The Playdium (portmanteau of Play and Stadium), which deals with the importance of physical activity, and includes displays such as

    • Exergames, which is a floor-installed movement-controlled projections display enabling guests to interact by participation,

    • Sugar Burners, a hands on display of two mechanical gauges - an exercise bike and a hand crank, both measuring how much it takes to burn off a sugary beverage - an interesting conversation starter with regards to drink choices.

    • Loft-a-Palooza, a high reaching apparatus, containing a series of numerous pumps involving a specific movement, including jumping, pumping and other body motions; guests work as a team to help lift the ball through its pipes to the top.

    • Whirligigerator, the main centrepiece linking multiple fitness challenges with a kinetic display to motivate and reward guests per level,

    • and a video exhibit titled Move It! Move It! which discusses how people make decisions to improve physical activity in their lives, also a conversation starter for guests to ponder on such decisions.

  • The Germnasium, which deals with the importance of hygiene, and includes

    • a hand washing tutorial display, using the SureWash hospital hand washing screener to demonstrate the number of germs remaining before and after hand washing

    • the sneeze wall, demonstrating just how messy and widespread a sneeze can actually reach

    • a game involving spotting bad hygiene actions in a game of Tic-Tac-Eww (humor implied), 

    • a bad-breath scent gallery (apparently not for those who are olfactorily squeamish, or the insistent on minty fresh breath)

    • a wall display containing factors for a healthy mouth, another conversational starter

    • a video animation titled Bacteria 101, designed as an informational film on bacteria and which ones are associated with disease

    • a scanner designed to identify and project sores and skin imperfections on the hands (as a demonstrative representation of advanced gum disease)

    • and another video exhibit on dental habits in early childhood titled Brush, Brush Baby!

    The Food Scanner, as seen on
    Lightswitch Portfolio page

  • The Cafédium, which deals with the importance of healthy eating, and includes

    • the Food Scanner, which operates with the jar lids supplied on the conveyor belt nearby - it displays the nutritive value of the food represented on the jar lid.

    • a calorie calculator which calculates an individuals caloric intake, and how certain foods can either make or break it,

    • an interactive nutrients guide,

    • Portion Practice (a gallery of household objects and their relation to food portion sizes) and also Portion Distortion (how the size of silverware and crockery can affect how much we eat)

On surface analysis, as well as a few additional notes according to each one, these four primary exhibits target the typical issues often taught at the formative level, in an interactive and entertaining manner. However, it is also important to know that apart from these issues, this exhibit also covers the emotional and teamwork aspects of health, as presented in the other areas as follows:

The Changing Gears exhibit section, found
in the blog Daytime Dad in the Emerald City

  • Wellbody Hall, the primary entrance to the exhibit, focusing on the strategic aspects of adopting a healthy lifestyle, and includes

    • the Wellness Strategy Optimiser, an interactive tutorial on setting manageable goals, with regards to words, frequency and start times - considered essential in managing a healthy lifestyle

    • Barrier Feud, a quiz show which encourages participants to identify possible barriers to wellness and to suggest and provide solutions to these barriers,

    • a teamwork activity involving guiding a ball through a maze, 

    • Influence Decoder, a media presentation on the powerful persuasiveness of advertisements and how it impacts the decisions of consumers.

    • Making Changes, a theater experience presenting numerous stories of people successfully adopting wellness practices that reflect Wellbody Hall's core values

    • and Changing Gears, an engaging visual piece that explains the best ways to modify behaviours and altogether pulls together the messages of the exhibits in Wellbody Hall

The photographic exhibit in the Loft, as seen
on the Lightswitch Portfolio page

  • The Loft, which focuses on the individual and includes the

    • Journey Wall and Photo Booths, which explores ageing by a series of composite shots.

    • Milestones, a display case exhibit presenting selected artefacts physically representing important cultural and personal milestones, as well as the opportunity for visitors to present their anticipated milestones of their lives. Nostalgia and conversations ensue.

    • It Happened to Me, a storyteller's booth of stories told by various people having to contend with changes to their health and how they coped, plus an opportunity for visitors to contribute their stories of a similar vein.

    • Guess Who? A retrospective match game with photos of past and present visitors and staff of the Pacific Science Centre, and another conversation starter between past and present visitors.

    • Face Facts! A visual section on how certain health choices affect appearance, effectively reflecting the moniker, 'you are how you live'.

    • Who Do You Turn To...?, a set of personalised collages on social relationships by answering a set of questions, with an interactive feature - the more connections specified, the more connections between people are linked.

    • and the user contributed Aging Hall of Fame, displaying a selection of featured people over 70 years demonstrating what it means to have aged well during the ups and downs of life.

  • The Studio, in which numerous exhibits on innovative research in health and biomedical science, especially happening in the Pacific Northwest of the US. The exhibits are set to cycle every six months to keep up to date with changing innovations.

There is a reason why I had decided to give this rather recent exhibit a mention in this section, especially due to the use of interactive components that somehow took a lookback towards Wonders of Life's exhibits such as those in the Fitness Fairgrounds section. While some of the exhibits in the Wellbody Academy involve video technology as a demonstrative or interactive tool, it is the use of mechanical components that would have added to the timelessness of the exhibits. Oddly enough, one can look back to a previous incarnation of a legendary but sadly passed EPCOT Center favourite, the famed second floor where ImageWorks once stood, each with hands-on interactivity in mind. However more notable are the themes on an individual's thoughts on their health and overall life deemed reminiscent of the unrealised pavilion-native film, The Joy of Living, as reflected in some of the aging related exhibits in the Loft. \
Here are some source links with regards to more information on the exhibit, for further research

There are also more photos on the exhibit as found on their official Facebook photos feed but since the exhibit is, by the time of writing this article, nearing the six month milestone (cheers!), it'll still be early days for information pertaining to the exhibit. For now, I will be hitting my nose to the grindstone with a lot more of what WOL4EVA will have to offer, whether in upcoming blog articles, through to updates on the informational site. I wonder if the blog and its menu bars deserve a facelift and paintjob.
Until next time, readers!

1 comment:

  1. IF disney is ever gonna do anything to WOL i hope it would be this


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