When Zhang Zikang, seven, got his first look at all the exciting gadgets on display at the Beijing Youth Science Expo, he immediately appreciated his mother's decision to take him there.
The first sight to catch his eye at the event, which opened yesterday, was a four-piece band dressed in green and yellow costumes and playing a delightful melody on what looked like homemade instruments.
Liu Zhihan, a flautist and designer, told China Daily that all of the band's musical instruments had been fashioned from waste materials.
"The flute, dulcimer, cello and drums are made of paper, water-pipes and used cans," said Liu, a second-year student at Shijingshan Middle School in Beijing.
More than 100 designs and devices were selected from about 200 candidate pieces that had been created by students from primary school through university. The five-day event is taking place at the China Millennium Monument.
The Beijing Youth Science Expo is being organized by the Beijing municipal committee for the Communist Youth League of China, Beijing municipal committee for science and technology and other departments.
"It aims at fostering young people's creativity and skills," said Wang Yue, head of the Beijing youth league committee.
There are no barriers separating the public from the objects on display, meaning people attending the expo can get a close look at the students' work.
For Zhang, the sight of a robotic football player running, kicking and bending over was the most exciting part of the day. "It's amazing. I only know science as something in a textbook," said the boy.
"But this makes me think it is part of my daily life and could be such fun."
Designed by students at Beijing Information Technology and Science University, the robotic player will strut its stuff at the upcoming Robocup, an international competition between robotic soccer players that will take place in Suzhou in October.
(China Daily August 3, 2007)