'Inventgenuity' Festival Brings Digital Twist to Da Vinci's Designs

By Nikhita Venugopal on January 13, 2014 10:27am 

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 The Beam Center's fifth annual "Inventgenuity Festival" will be held Jan. 25 and 26 at the Invisible Dog Art Center on Bergen Street.
Inventgenuity Festival
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COBBLE HILL — Leonardo da Vinci’s 15th-century design is heading to the neighborhood — with a few digital twists.

The fifth annual Brooklyn “Inventgenuity” Festival will be held Jan. 25 and 26 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., featuring activities and workshops around the theme “Mechanical Music.”

Hosted by Beam Center, the festival will revive da Vinci’s “cam hammer,” an invention that works through a crank mechanism to lift and drop a hammer.

Kids will build a modified version, called the “Cam Hammer Analog Synthesizer,” which, with help from the center’s team, will turn the machine into a musical instrument.

“[The festival] is for the curious child who has an attraction to how things work,” said Brian Cohen, co-founder of the nonprofit learning and youth center.

The festival is hosted every year at the Invisible Dog Art Center, located at 51 Bergen St., but for the first time, it will spill into the Beam Center’s neighboring space, Cohen said.

While children can work on the cam hammer design for free during the two-day event, there will also be 45-minute workshops like “Drawing Sonic Scrolls” and “Talking Origami,” priced at $8.25.

Children of all ages are welcome to attend, and workshops are geared for kids 7 years and up. In the past, between 600 and 800 people have attended the event, Cohen said.

The “Cam Hammer” project, designed by automatonist Eun Jung Park and electronic artist Mark Kleback, will combine woodwork and electrical skills, allowing kids to learn about constructing the device as well as wiring it to play music.

It's an example of teaching children to turn old and new ideas into innovative creations, Cohen said.

“There will be computers, but there will also be glue guns,” he said.

Registration for the Brooklyn Inventgenuity Festival is required. To register, visit this website.

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