An East Village company that produces electronic modules is inviting children to play with high-tech toys to figure out why the power went out in the city following Sandy. NY1's Technology reporter Adam Balkin filed the following report.
Children in an East Village workshop have a chance to interact with a cardboard Manhattan powered by toys and to see how it reacts to a mock hurricane. But it takes more than toys to make electrical light shine in this mini-Manhattan.
This toy Manhattan is powered by littleBits, electronic modules that snap together with magnets, and their creators are inviting local students to their headquarters for a hands-on demonstration explaining why the lights went out during Sandy.
"We have different power bits that represent the different power stations. Power stations are connected through multiple wires and multiple forks to connect entire neighborhoods. And so we're going to be switching off these power stations to indicate that that neighborhood goes down when the power goes out and then you'll see how some parts of the neighborhood go out when others don't," says Ayah Bdeir of littleBits. "We're also going to see how Con Edison started to pre-empt some shutdowns ahead of time to be able to avoid water damage and the long-term effects of water damage."
After attending the workshop, the children say they feel fully confident that they can teach their friends, and maybe even their parents, about exactly why the power went out in the city and why it took so long to come back.
"Places all over the country bring a little bit of power in here and this brings out separate wires to all the buildings in its area," says one child.
"When it flooded, it damaged all the equipment and it was a lot more than they expected," says another child.
"The World Trade Center had its own generator because it's kind of its own special building," says a third child.
Incidentally, littleBits staff members think the best way to help explain the timeline of what happened is by role-playing as a NY1 reporter interviewing a spokesperson from Con Ed.