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Focus on fun as technology comes to life

SHANGHAI citizens, young and old, experienced some eye-catching technologies at the 2009 Shanghai International Science and Art Exhibition when it opened to the public yesterday.

The exhibition, open free to the public until next Wednesday at Shanghai Pudong Expo at 201 Hehuan Road, is part of the 2009 Shanghai Pudong New Area Science and Technology Festival.

The exhibition has attracted innovations and inventions from 11 countries and regions and it is open from 8am to 6pm Monday to Friday and from 9am to 8pm at weekends.

Sitting pretty

A Shanghai teacher brought a special type of seat and table that he hopes might be used at the 2010 Shanghai World Expo for visitors to relax in.

Xiao Bing, who teaches animation at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, said it was not an ordinary seat.

"It is equipped with sensors and is connected to a computer, which can project a Chinese painting on the table once people sit down," he said.

The Chinese painting on display was one depicting a lively lotus pond, with animated fish swimming in the pool and a dragonfly on a lotus leaf.

What makes it interesting, Xiao said, is that when a Chinese seal, with a sensor at its base, is moved around on the painting, the virtual creatures can be made to swim or fly away.

Dancing lights

Standing beside a robot, an LED (light emitting diode) display in the shape of a cube drew a crowd of youths who were attending the show after class.

They watched as someone played a violin beside it and the display changed color in time to the music. According to Zhu Hao, a university student who was working as a volunteer for ETH Zurich, a science and technology university in Switzerland, it displays 16 million colors which can change 25 times per second.

The cube, called Nova, on display is a mini version of one installed in Zurich's main train station, Zhu said.

Third dimension

Among the pictures of some well-known Chinese scientists displayed on a wall, a painting of Zhen Shiling, a famous architect from China, attracted attention as it changes when observed from different angles.

Wu Taiquan, an engineer with Shanghai Virtual Manufacturing Inc, said the painting acted in the same way as traditional stereoscopic pictures but didn't require glasses with red and green lenses.

But that old technology, which was also on display, proved almost as popular.

"Complex things are often based on some simple techniques at the very beginning," said Zhang Yunfeng, a retiree from a research institute who was viewing the pictures during a visit to the exhibition with his wife.


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