The Erie County Fair will debut a new, first-of-its kind ketchup dispensing robot as part of a new initiative meant to highlight the successes of STEM industries here in Western New York.
The "I-Hub at the Fair" will be located inside the Fair's Showplace Building. The "i" stands for innovation, imagination and ingenuity. The display will focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics based businesses and education here in Western New York.
There will be daily demonstrations, interactive displays and hands-on activities. One of those interactive displays will be Molly, the world's first practical use "ketchup dispensing robot." Molly will be serving ketchup at "Jim's French Fries" concession stand. "Jim's" will be one of the stops for a passport-themed activity that will lead participants to the Fair's 4-H Youth Development Building and the Agriculture Discovery Center among other Fair sites to experience STEM in action while acquiring passport "stamps."
Over 300 hours of Western New York-born engineering and computer programming have been invested into Molly. She was built by Hamburg's Staub Precision Machine and meant to symbolize and represent "homegrown" ingenuity.
There will also be a STEM Museum at the I-Hub at the Fair, a state-of-the-art, hands-on children's museum focused on STEM education. Fairgoers will be encouraged to explore, at their own pace, a variety of stations that will include 3D printing, parabolic arch building and the ability to turn kinetic energy into electricity.
The 179th Erie County Fair runs August 8-19.