Monday, 28 November 2016

'My Monster Comes to…Light!' - Tinkering With Soft Circuit

Soft circuit has always been an interesting “experiment” for me to explore. I dug up my old circuit case recently, and ended up creating a light monster! Then, I thought, I should put this on the blog so that others can share or even try making this cool project using soft felt, conductive thread, LEDs and coin batteries. 
Let’s get started!
Wool batting
Felting needle / barb needle

First, you need to get familiar with “Needle Felting” tools, which can easily be found in craft stores.

Pitstop! What is needle felting? It’s a process where barbed needles are used to interlock the scales on wool fibers to form a denser material (in this case, it’s felt!).  As the felting needle is moved up and down, the barbs on the needles catch the scales to entangle them into place.

Foam pad – to place your felt and to protect your fingers from being poked! 

Now, let’s practice this basic needle felting technique:-

Start with a small amount of batting. Gently and tightly roll it into a cylinder.

Carefully poke the batting with your needle and roll it into a ball (or a shape of your choice). Gradually add more batting to reach your preferred size. The more you poke the needle in the same place, the more compact the area becomes. Why? The needle is actually a special needle that looks like barb along its stick. When you poke the needle, the barb will cut the felt wool and entangle the tiny wool together.

Repeatedly poke a small amount of wool batting while slowly shaping it into a small ball to make the body. Gradually add wool batting to your preferred size. 

To make the monster’s head, form a smaller ball using the above technique. Attach the head to the body by poking the continuing joint with a needle until it is secured.

Details can be added by placing a tiny amount of batting onto the desired spot and poking it repeatedly until it is firm and secured. 
Now, it’s time to tinker with circuitry and make our monster come to …light!
You will need:-


Conductive thread and needle

What is conductive thread?
A thread made from either silver plating or stainless steel that can carry current the same way that wires can. It can be used to sew a circuit together, creating flexible circuits that require no soldering.

Coin battery holder

Coin battery

LED Diode

Here's how we do it:-

Sew one side of the battery holder to the base of your monster.

From the battery holder, insert your needle through the monster’s body to its head.  

Sew the LED on top of the monster’s head.

Fix any loose batting to tidy up your monster.

Insert the battery.

Watch your monster come to… light!
What makes your monster come to light? The LED can only light up with a complete circuit and that is when it is connected to a battery. A complete circuit is like a circle. Electricity starts at a particular place, and then travel around the circuit and return back to the same place. Have fun!

Email to  if you are deadly curious about how to find those weird stuff! 

Shared by Izhana
Guest Blogger

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Did You Know That Polar Bears Are Not White?

Can you see something big, white and fluffy?

The Polar bear is the world’s largest terrestrial carnivore. It inhabits the northern regions of the Arctic Circle. There are five nations with polar bears: United States of America (Alaska), Canada, Russia, Denmark (Greenland), and Norway (Svalbard). 

Polar bears do not live in Antarctica but penguins do

The icy waters and ice floes are where their favourite food – seals, can be found.  Seals can be quite tough to catch, so polar bears must hunt with great stealth and patience. Fortunately, their white colouring helps them hunt by blending in with their surroundings. 

Polar bears feed mainly on ringed seals

Most people think that polar bears have white fur and skin. But believe it or not, their hair isn’t actually white! It may look white, but a polar bear’s fur is made up of translucent, hollow hairs. Each hair works like a fibre-optic tube, channelling the sun’s energy to the bear’s black skin, helping it to stay warm. Those translucent hairs reflect light, just like ice and snow do, making the polar bears appear white.

Interestingly, not all polar bears look white. If you have ever seen a polar bear in a zoo, you may have noticed some patches of green fur. Scientists discovered that this is due to the algae in the enclosure’s pond water. These algae were found not on the surface of the hairs but inside the hollow hairs! 

Did the polar bear just dye its hair?

Are polar bears endangered? Polar bears are listed under a variety of classifications depending on international, national, and regional regulations. Internationally, they are listed as a vulnerable species by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature). The primary conservation concern for polar bears is habitat loss and reduced access to their seal prey due to climate change. Scientists predict that as the Arctic continue to warm, two-thirds of the world's polar bears could disappear within this century. However, recent research showed that there is still hope if action is taken to greatly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Shared by Nor Azhar Ishak
Guest Blogger

Monday, 21 November 2016

'Hints' & alasan sains untuk menjawab teka-teki ‘cari fon tersembunyi’

Segelintir daripada kita mungkin pernah terlihat teka-teki ‘cari fon tersembunyi’ atau dalam ayat sebenarnya ‘cuba cari telefon bimbit yang tersembunyi?’ yang telah tersebar dan agak ‘viral’ di laman media sosial seperti di Facebook dan Instagram suatu ketika dahulu namun mungkin juga ada yang belum pernah melihatnya.

Soalannya berbunyi; Perhatikan gambar di bawah dengan teliti dan 
‘cuba cari fon tersembunyi’.

‘Macam mana? Dah jumpa tak?’  Ataupun anda masih tercari-cari? Teruskan mencari kerana anda pasti teruja sekiranya anda berjaya menjumpainya!
Kita hampir tidak percaya bahawa memang terdapat satu telefon bimbit tersembunyi dalam gambar di atas. Walaubagaimanapun, ada di antara kita dapat menjumpainya dengan mudah kerana mereka mempunyai kelebihan untuk melihat benda-benda yang tersembunyi.

Kenapa susah nak jumpa telefon bimbit yang tersembunyi? 'Hints' dan alasan sains berikut boleh membantu anda menjawab teka-teki ini.

Mata kita telah tertipu disebabkan oleh tiga perkara iaitu (1)warna, (2)corak dan (3)saiz. Warna sarung telefon bimbit yang tersembunyi terdiri daripada warna hitam, putih dan kelabu di mana warna-warna ini menyerupai warna karpet tersebut. Maka ia telah ‘camouflage’ ataupun ‘menyamar’ dengan persekitaran dan  menyebabkan penglihatan mata kita terkabur dari dapat melihat objek yang tersembunyi. Objek yang ‘camouflage’ dengan persekitaran akan mengelirukan pandangan mata kita. 

Namun ‘camouflage’ mempunyai kesan kebaikan untuk haiwan-haiwan dalam persekitaran semulajadinya di mana haiwan-haiwan menyamar dengan warna persekitaran supaya dapat melindungi diri dari diserang musuh seperti dalam gambar di bawah.

'Hints' yang kedua ialah corak pada sarung telefon bimbit yang tersembunyi  hampir sama dengan corak karpet di mana kedua-duanya berasaskan corak bunga. Corak objek ataupun dalam hal ini corak sarung telefon bimbit kelihatan hampir sama dengan corak karpet menyebabkan ‘ilusi mata’ berlaku. ‘Ilusi mata’ atau ’ilusi optik’ dalam erti kata lain bermaksud kepercayaan palsu terhadap penglihatan mata yang mampu mengakibatkan persepsi kita akan berubah terhadap keadaan sebenar  sesuatu objek. Lihat gambar di bawah. Corak garisan-garisan geometri secara menegak pada fabrik boleh menampakkan seseorang itu kelihatan lebih tinggi daripada ketinggian sebenar. 

Kredit imej: @vivyyusof

Selain itu, faktor ‘saiz’ memainkan peranan penting terhadap teka-teka ini. Saiz sarung telefon bimbit dalam gambar di atas adalah sama dengan saiz garisan-garisan pada corak karpet.  

Ketiga-tiga ‘hints’ dan alasan sains sudah diperjelaskan. Anda sudah tahu jawapannya? Telefon bimbit yang tersembunyi itu terletak di bahagian atas kanan gambar berhampiran dengan kaki meja.  

Sekarang cuba bayangkan sarung telefon bimbit itu bewarna merah? Atau cuba bayangkan sarung telefon bimbit itu bewarna hitam, putih dan kelabu tetapi bercorak ‘bintang-bintang’ misalnya? Ataupun ‘saiz’ sarung telefon bimbit yang tersembunyi adalah lebih besar daripada garisan-garisan pada corak karpet? Sudah tentu kewujudan objek itu kelihatan lebih ketara.

Posted by Ayu Royani
Petrosains Blogger   

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Re-imagining STEAM Education

The core subject in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematic) education is still ‘Science’, being the fundamental element to drive the nation forward with emphasis on technical skills and scientific advances. Other subjects crucially support and enable ‘creativity and innovation’ in the science centers’ various experiential learning modules, serving as the means to the end. 

Let’s take a case study of a well-known center of informal learning which has been actively promoting science literacy for over a decade now. With a proven STEAM Education Ecosystem (SEE), Sniasortep Discovery Centre believes in continuously improving lifelong experiential learnings with its Re-Imagining STEAM Education (RISE) initiative.

The Centre focuses on 3 core aspects to steer away from the obsolescence trap and stay relevant in passionately promoting STEAM education: Innovative Funding, Market-driven Contents / Activities and Creative Marketing.

Funded partially by a corporate benefactor and competitive admission tickets, the Centre has a steady cash flow to sustain the business operations. However, the workforce has been gradually geared up to adopt the competitive corporate/commercial mindset as the main money pump may get dry someday. Various smart partnerships between Private-Public-Communities as well as creative Venue-for-Hire (VFH) offerings and Program-for-Hire (PFH) projects have been in places. The strategy of ‘commercializing the assets’ and ‘diversifying the revenue streams’ are fast gaining steam. 

Content wise, the Centre has contemporary, interactive science exhibits intertwined with all-time favorite contents such as dinosaurs and space. It collaborates with credible institutions such as NASA and innovative global brands like APPLE, TESLA, VIRGIN, AIRBUS, CITIGROUP, EMIRATES, and many others for its ‘Creative Mind’ (CREAM) project to discover and develop the ‘crème de la crème’ among the next generations and to supply back the partners with good human talents. 

It has the ‘Spicy Science’ gallery strategically located at the entrance showcasing the latest, hot scientific discoveries such as the rocks of Mars, the ‘homo nalendi’ fossils, HoloLens, OTC’s bionic lenses, which ensure steady flows of visitors and revenues.

Increasingly funded by the private sector under its ‘community sciencing’ CSR projects, the Centre extends its in-reach and outreach education programs within the sponsors’ communities as well as to remote villages to create passions for STEAM subjects among students with fun, hands-on experiences where real learning occurs. 

The Centre also has a special unit to solely focus on the STEAM Education Ecosystem (SEE). Working closely with the Education Ministry, it has an assessment rubric to identify talented students or those with good potentials to be inspired further in pursuit of STEAM related careers. Resource-rich schools will be minimally charged for the program at their schools while those under-privileged ones will get adopted by the various socially responsible corporations / foundations. 

It further inspires students at tertiary level by giving them an avenue to express their creativity and develop critical thinking process. Working with the private sector, its HRM department offers programs skewed towards specific fields and provides numerous internship places for the undergraduates for real job exposure.  It completes the cycle by collaborating with the private sectors in STEAM related industries to skill-match and employ these promising graduates. The cycle continues with these young graduates volunteer themselves to mentor the new batch of students.

The Centre also creates some cool marketing gimmicks to spark the fun. Taking note from Nando’s ‘Grilling Hours’, the Centre uses ‘Discovery Hours’ instead of ‘Opening Hours’. The Marketing team also works on smart partnership basis with some better-known personalities, scientists, corporate captains, and selected celebrities alike, for free endorsements and PR / media publicities.

It constantly rides on the latest pop cultures, movies, music, fashions, to keep trending among the youths. Its upcoming traveling exhibition ‘Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N’ will bring in more visitors and stream additional revenues. Its digital campaigns by its Social Media team are also talks of the town with its disruptive contents across its multiple channels. 

The Centre has been successfully indeed in creating wonder and inspiring people through engaging and imaginative experiences. (I’ve read this line before) With the vast potentials of its other business, the ‘Towers of Steels Visit Operations’ (TOSVO), the Centre is on track to build the legacy of our future…. Hmm, sounds very familiar now....

Sniasortep’ is indeed a fictitious science discovery center in ‘Lalaland’. Spell it backward and you’ll probably get the connection.

Shared by Hasnan
Guest Blogger  

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Tulip, That's Me!

Don’t mistake me for being ungrateful.  I’m not Dutch nor am I from Holland*.   My origins was faraway in Central Asia – around the Black Sea, Crimea and Northern Steppes of the Caucasus.  These lands were part of the Ottoman Empire then.  Yes, the Turks!  Those were grand days, especially during the time of Suleiman the Magnificent, I was celebrated, courted and became a symbol of wealth & power.  Today I am the national flower of Turkey – what more can a flower ask!  Pssst…I am also very famous at Holland, since late 16th century, and today, droves of people flock to Keukenhof Gardens just to pay me homage!

Let’s talk about now.  My current appearance is not exactly the same as my time during the Ottoman Empire days.  I have been told countless times that I look more beautiful now!  So, here’s the secret…

About me
I was a free spirit - wild and carefree.  No worries about being beautiful.  Ever since I became very popular in Holland back in the 16th century, admirers constantly demand to see a more beautiful me.  So hybridisers worked very hard to do that.  Now there’s so many versions of gorgeous me!  Yes I’m a hybrid, no more the wild tulip.  It doesn’t matter – at least I changed & improved with time!  

Common name :Tulip
Botanical name: Tulipa
Group                 :Bulbous perennial
Flowering time: Usually March to May
Planting time   : October-November
Height               : Varies, from 15cm to 75cm; spread: 15cm
Aspect               : Full sun
Hardiness        : Fully hardy
Difficulty          : Easy

The Hybridisers
What is a hybrid flower?  It’s basically the offspring of two species bred by human manipulation.  This human, aka hybridiser, will manually pollinate the flower to achieve specific results. This will result in flowers bred for certain colours or other desired characteristics.

Humans have their personal groomers or stylists, while flowers have hybridizers to make us look good.  That’s my secret for looking good!  Humans or flowers, don’t we want to look gorgeous?

The official name of the country is the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Holland actually only means the two provinces of Noord-Holland and Zuid-Holland. However, the name Holland is often used when all of the Netherlands is meant.

** Keukenhof Gardens
A park of more than 7 million flower bulbs that are planted annually. The gardens & four pavilions show a collection of: tulips, hyacinths, daffodils, orchids, roses, carnations, irises, lilies and many other flowers. 

Tulips Videos:

Shared by Azni Zainal Abidin
Guest Blogger

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Petrosains Joins Worldwide Celebration of The International Science Centre and Science Museum Day (ISCSMD)

Petrosains, The Discovery Centre, today celebrated the International Science Centre and Science Museum Day (ISCSMD) on the occasion of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization – UNESCO’s ’World Science Day for Peace and Development’ and in partnership with the International Council of science centres, science museums, and their networks wordwide.  A total of 40 secondary school students from SMK Seri Garing, Rawang, Selangor were also invited to join in the celebration at Petrosains. 

The ISCSMD was celebrated for the first time worldwide on 10 November 2016 and science centres and science museums wordwide were celebrating it by offering activites based on one or more of the Sustainable Develoment Goals (SDGs) declared by the United Nations.  Building upon the UNESCO’s theme of ”Science for Peace and Development”, the aim of the celebration was to demonstrate the engagement and impact of the science centers and science museums to surrounding communities.  There are all together 3000 science centres in the world which have reached and engaged with more than 310 million visitors worldwide.
All over the world, the day was observed and celebrated to pay homage to the efforts championed by science centres and science museums to engage the public at large in science and to create new ways to proactively address global sustainability while reaching diverse audiences. Among the activities organized at other science centres and science museums worldwide were forum and discussion sessions, exhibitions and science programs which were aligned to the United Nation’s SDGs. 

At Petrosains, the activities in celebration of the ISCSMD were aligned to the Goal 6 of the United Nations SDGs which was the Clean Water and Sanitation.  The workshops and science show offered by Petrosains on that day aimed to educate the public on the availability and sustainable management of water by introducing properties of water, usage of water as well as introduction on sanitation and water purification.   

On this significant celebration, Petrosains also featured the new collaboration initiative with National Geographic Channel’s ”Mars”.  ”Mars” is a six-part series produced by Oscar winning producers, Ron Howard and Brian Grazer which tells the fictional story of Earth’s first crewed mission to MARS aboard the spacecraft Daedalus. In addition to the story, the series weaves in interviews and point-of-views from science and space experts such as Elon Musk, Buzz Aldrin, Stephen Hawking and David Newman.  The series, presented on the National Geographic Channel (ASTRO Channel 553) will premiere globally on 13 November 2016 and as a special treat, a special preview screening will be held at Petrosains KLCC, Kuala Lumpur on the same day.

Among the activities in conjunction with the “Mars” campaign was the on-ground activities at the HotScience area in Petrosains where visitors experienced the “Journey to Mars “ on board the Deadalus mission and were invited to become future citizens of MARS. The experience on Mars was further extended at the Space Gallery of Petrosains where visitors experience Mars’ gravity at 38 percent of Earth’s by going on the anti-gravity treadmill. 

Chief Executive Officer of Petrosains, Tengku Nasariah Tengku Syed Ibrahim said, “Petrosains is excited to celebrate the ISCSMD for the first time together with other science centres and science museums worldwide like the Singapore Science Centre; Exploratorium, The Museum of Science, Art and Human Perception, San Francisco and the Mind Museum, Phillippines.  Many science related activities or projects aligned to the United Nations SDGs are conducted in celebration of the day.  We are united globally in this cause to demonstrate how science centres and science museums play an important social role in practicing sustainable science.”

She adds, ”We are also excited to collaborate with the National Geographic Channel (NGC) on their latest ”Mars” series. We share the same goals with NGC in trying to bring science closer to the public and provide knowledge that helps in the discovery, understanding and appreciation of science, and its significant contribution to mankind. Science governs our lives and it helps us face the realities out there from an educated and meaningful vantage point.”

Visitors who visited Petrosains on that day were accorded with a 10% discount on admission tickets, were able to participate in exciting ISCSMD science show and workshops.  The students form SMK Seri Garing, Rawang who were given a special treat on that day were presented with their Martian ID card at the end of the event.