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Concept Designs

AREA 21™ is our new museum and exploration center.

Autonomous driving, critical infrastructure, space and aerospace, advanced manufacturing. and medical technology.  All while you code robots, make moon bricks, make 3D prints, control Cyber City, navigate the Drive Maze, and more.  Located at the Tech Port Center + Arena at Port San Antonio.  Learn more.

Vision Statement

To unlock potential for ALL students, families, and communities, with an emphasis on those traditionally underrepresented in STEM. In the process, to expand San Antonio’s role as global technology leader.

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1) Seeds of today’s technology were planted long ago by philosophers, scientists, engineers, and investors.


2) Those seeds have grown into impressive fields delivering advanced technologies far beyond the imagination of their original investors.


3) Technological innovation has changed our lives in profound ways and will continue to do so.


4) People, Places, Things, Information, Computers, and Energy are interconnected. The connections are high-speed webs of fiber optics, 5G cellular and Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites. These are the components of Our Connected World.


5) Advanced Manufacturing- CAD, CAM and 3D printing is changing how our world is built. Objects once impossible to make are now part of everyday life.


Student Visitor Takeaways

• Tech & innovation are cool

• San Antonio has been a leader in innovation

• Everything is connected.

• Science and technology is both art and science.

• People like you have been innovators.

• People like you work in high tech jobs all over San Antonio.

• Education pathways are defined, and there are people to help you get started.

• Science and technology is right here, it’s for everyone, and you can do it!


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• A new 20,000-square-foot immersive destination

• Located within the Innovation Center at Port San Antonio

• That excites, inspires, and educates guests using innovation and technology

With many exhibits developed by Texas organizations and companies


1. Connected Universe (Lobby)

2. Entry Experience

3. Connecting Everything

4. Networks & Cybersecurity

5. Space 2.0

6. Advanced Manufacturing

7. Connecting Robots

10. Spark Organ (In Arena)

11. Renewable City (Outside)


SECTION 1 – Connected Universe

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Visitors to SAMSAT’s AREA 21 enter from the Innovation Center’s main lobby. As they approach SAMSAT, they see an extraordinary gallery of satellite models suspended overhead in a three-story tall atrium. Various models of satellites are displayed, such as a communications satellite, space telescope, and deep-space probe. All of these types of satellites are connected to Earth and to each other by wireless communications networks providing us a wealth of scientific data about the universe as well as connections for Our Connected World.

SECTION 2 – Entry Experience


The Entry Experience introduces visitors to Area 21

Visitors enter AREA 21 from the Innovation Center main lobby. There up to 50 visitors view original artifacts that seeded many of today’s core technologies that “Our Connected World” was built on. Visitors learn how, from these important, but primitive, past inventions, we have progressed to the present state of technology and set the stage for future innovation. After the formal presentation, the doors of the Entry Experience open automatically for the audience to exit to meet Spot, a choreographed dancing robot dog, who greets everybody coming to AREA 21.

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SECTION 3 – Connecting Everything

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After Spot the dog has everybody excited to move on, visitors proceed to a forest consisting of a sea of three foot tall interactive smartphones. The phones respond to the visitors, then stream various scripts describing how our world is interconnected in every way. Following, a half-a-dozen world-class exhibits interactively illustrate a wide variety of Internet of Things (IOT) systems, from smart bulbs to cars to entire cities, and the infrastructure that connects them.

Main Messages:

Everything is getting connected to Everything, and it’s powerful. The innovation connecting people, devices, and places provides solutions to improve the human experience and is solving many of the major problems we are facing today.


SECTION 4 – Networks & Cybersecurity


Many people have heard of servers and cybersecurity centers, but have they ever seen them? Armed with the background they learned in Connecting Everything, they proceed to the back hallway of AREA 21 to see what is behind the scenes driving commercial networking operations and the Internet. Working servers supporting all of SAMSAT and the Innovation Center are showcased behind plate-glass windows, and visitors tour the Simulations/Special Operations Center, the “SIMSOC”, utilized for cybersecurity simulation exercises and to coordinate defenses against actual cyber-attacks.

SECTION 5 – Space 2.0


After 50 years of routine space operations, the world has entered a new and exciting phase of space exploration and habitation. SPACE 2.0 showcases some of the phenomenal work being done by San Antonio’s SwRI and the WEX Foundation. Amazing concepts of Space-Based Solar Power and robotic 3-D printing of lunar habitats, being designed at Port San Antonio, capture the visitors’ imagination. A fun photo-op on Mars is provided with a video green-screen and special effects from the high-definition broadcast studio in AREA 21.


SECTION 6 – advanced manufacturing

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Having just seen a model of 3D printer designed to operate on the Moon or Mars, visitors can try their hand at 3D designing and printing back here on Earth. The SparkFactory™ exhibit is equipped with computer workstations and 3D printers that allow visitors to customize various objects and print takeaway souvenirs on the spot. Displays of a variety of 3D objects ranging from tennis shoes to replacement human body parts to personalized food will be provided

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SECTION 7 – connecting Medicine

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The Connecting Medicine exhibit showcases computer communications to connect patients to their doctors, and doctors connecting their exotic machines over low-latency high0-bandwidth networks. Examples on display are a CT Scanner (that looks out of-this-world without its cover) and an amazing robotic surgery machine that allows a surgeon to operate on a patient from a remote workstation.


SECTION 8 – Connective Realities – Virtual, Augmented & Mixed


Moving into an exciting highly immersive exhibit area, visitors will experience a plethora of “Extended Reality” technologies such as AR (Augmented Reality) and VR (Virtual Reality). These rich experiences allow visitors to fly, drive, travel, study, work and play virtually with complex computer synthesized 3D video imagery and video.


SECTION 9 – Connecting Robotics

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To quote our friends at Plus One Robotics, “Robots Work, People Rule”. The Connecting Robots exhibits show not only robots at work but at play too! The last exhibit area in AREA 21’s

exhibit hall provides amazing examples of robotic science. Then andyRobot provides an exciting

robotic grand-finale to cap off a day of STEM learning and fun.

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SECTION 10 – SparkOrgan™ –
Giant Tesla Coil Array

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The Innovation Center’s 3200-person arena is just down the hall from AREA 21. There SAMSAT has configured the world’s largest musical Tesla Coil Array to provide science, entertainment, awe, and inspiration. Music sings out from gigantic high-voltage sparks, with notes originating from a computer or live from a human keyboard performer. The SparkOrgan™ literally electrifies the

arena crowds and educational classes teaching about lighting, alternating current, radio waves,

power transmission and electronic music.

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SECTION 11 – the renewable city

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An outdoor Renewable Tech area provides a beautiful landscape area for children to play and adults to relax while learning about and seeing operating water, energy and construction systems. The 3-D printed house serves as a classroom or meeting space, with its running water and electrical power being produced totally on-site.

For more information, please contact: