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A new, high-tech ‘Makerspace’ expands kids’ imagination in Bristol

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BRISTOL -- After a ribbon cutting at the Imagine Nation Museum in Bristol, there was a chance to go cutting edge.

On Tuesday, things got technical at the Imagine Nation, which is an early learning center for kids. GE Industrial Solutions, based in Plainville, opened its first-ever "Makers Lab," with Imagine Nation, which is operated by the Boys and Girls Club of Bristol.

"It exposes them to some of the latest technologies; 3-D printing, laser cutting, and advanced robotics," said Paul Singer, a chief technology officer at GE Industrial Solutions. "You can expose kids at a very early age to be creative."

While kids explored the newly re-vamped second floor of the museum, white-coat-clad GE engineers, who volunteer their time, helped with the 411 on the various techie tools at hand in the newly minted gallery of gadgetry.

The main activity allows visitors to design and build race cars using the same technologies used in manufacturing facilities.

"They will be creating our future world," said Michael Suchopar, the chief professional officer at the Bristol Boys and Girls Club Family Center. "It's right at their finger tips, this is all-hands-on for kids."

The most popular part of the new Makerspace features Baxter, an interactive robot who has an e-tablet face with cartoonish eyes. Singer said, "Baxter, he is the star of the show."

The Imagine Nation is located at 1 Pleasant St. in Bristol. For more information click here.