By DEVIN WEEKS
COEUR d’ALENE — Battle bots popped balloons, phones were charged using solar power and tiny drones buzzed through the air.
All the while, 11-year-old Andrew Gordon held a laser focus as he moved colorful bands around obstacles using a da Vinci Surgical System robot.
"It was pretty interesting. I felt like I had to get stuff right, I didn’t want to accidentally chip one of those things apart," he said. "I'm going to be a doctor when I grow up."
Future doctors, scientists, innovators and creators reveled in the science and technology extravaganza Friday during the Think Big Festival Tech Carnival at the Innovation Den.
Exhibition booths and hands-on demonstrations intrigued and wowed guests of all ages as different schools, businesses and organizations shared their cool gadgets with the community.
"It's really awesome. I'm really glad it was here," Andrew said. "In other places it’s really expensive. If it was in other places people wouldn’t get a chance to experience this. It’s great that it’s here because a lot of people get to see what the future’s really going to be like."
North Idaho STEM Charter Academy freshman Katherine Barney visited with guests at the Project Da Vinci CubeSat booth. She and her classmates, who launched a cube satellite into space last December, enjoyed sharing their STEM love with the community at the festival.
"Our mission is educational, to get as many people into STEM as possible, so things like this are really important just to remind the community what we’re doing here at home and that we have kids who are building big robots and launching satellites," she said. "It's important that people can be interested at any age in doing remote surgeries, just even understanding how cool the opportunities they have are here."
The 2019 Think Big Festival continues today with speakers at North Idaho College from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and city-wide tech parties across Coeur d'Alene from 6 to 9 p.m.