Ipswich Central Library is steaming into the digital age with the launch of a new purpose-built tech zone that is sure to get your geek on. It’s a far cry from the stuffy silence that used to be synonymous with libraries.

Designed with a focus on STEAM – science, technology, engineering, arts and maths – the digital zone includes a virtual reality room, augmented reality sandbox, collaborative jigsaw and children’s gadget bar.

The international Makerspace movement brings people together to use technology in hands-on displays of exploration, innovation and education. The areas are community-focused and offer outlets for creation and collaboration rather than consumption. Here’s a look at five of the library’s latest Makerspace offerings:

Virtual reality green room: Fire, electricity and paint come to life in this 3D environment where the entire room is a blank canvas. A mixed reality live stream of the VR experience lets people watch the user create floating art.

Augmented reality sandbox: Make mountains, oceans and islands in an upright sandbox while a real-time graphics overlay reacts to the landscape. Add dinosaurs to the mix or make it rain, reducing the land mass and creating new areas of exploration.

3D printing station: Bring virtual creations into the real world with one of the library’s 3D printers. This is a perfect way to build product prototypes or make figurines and toys.

Live streaming community collaborative jigsaw: Work on a 1,000 piece puzzle as the action is live-streamed on screens throughout the library. Participants receive before and after images via email to track progress and a web-stream of the puzzle is featured on the library website.

Augmented reality playbench for kids: Children can colour-in special play-sheets and watch artwork come to life using the playbench tablets and apps.

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