Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Smart grid technology becomes museum piece

Steve Rogerson
March 28, 2017



Smart grid technology has already found its way into a museum. The museum is the Creative Discovery children’s museum in Chattanooga, which has partnered with the EPB, the local electric power board, to create an exhibit about the smart grid and fibre optics, and how electricity makes it into the home.
 
The EPB’s smart grid technology simulator, programmed by local software developer L2D, highlights how the utility’s smart grid responds to power outages during inclement weather. As a storm passes through the city, game users work with the smart grid technology to restore power to the residents of Chattanooga.
 
“Electricity is a mystery in every child’s life,” said Karen Dewhirst, science manager at Creative Discovery Museum. “Presenting electricity in a visible way makes the topic approachable and understandable. EPB’s exhibit is a perfect fit. It’s important for kids to understand circuitry, robotics and programming if they are going to be the inventors and makers of the future. This exhibit provides exposure to all of those concepts.”
 
Through a partnership with OFS, a manufacturer of optical fibre, visitors are introduced to the characteristics of optical fibre, how it is made and why pure glass is an optimal material to transmit data and communications. In this section of the exhibit, visitors investigate total internal reflection by passing a laser beam of light through the preform and learn about splicing optical fibres.
 
“I am proud of our partnership with the Creative Discovery Museum and the opportunity EPB has to help inspire education in a fun and engaging way,” said EPB president and CEO David Wade. “This hands-on exhibit can help children understand how Chattanooga’s fibre optic network works.”
 
The exhibit also provides children with a basic understanding of electricity. Visitors can build their own circuits and investigate how electricity flows through the grid and into their homes by playing with breakers and switches.
 
“We are very excited to have EPB’s smart grid and fibre optic technology on display in the museum,” said Henry Schulson, executive director at Creative Discovery Museum. “The EPB has been a great supporter of the museum for many years. We are happy to now have a way to share the many great things they are doing for the community in an educational format.”
 
Creative Discovery Museum is open seven days a week from 10:00 to 17:00.
 
Established as an independent board of the city of Chattanooga in 1935, EPB is a municipally owned utility that provides electric power and fibre optic communications services as a means of promoting economic development and enhancing quality of life across the local area. It serves more than 170,000 homes and businesses.