Robots, costumes highlight Geeks’ Night Out

Robots, video games, comic books and superhero costumes will line the streets of Mill Avenue near Tempe City Hall on Thursday night.

Mill Avenue is decorated with multiple banners announcing Tempe's Geek Week. Geek Week will feature multiple booths, activities and contests for all ages along Mill Ave February 15-24. (Photo by Ashley Kesweder)

Mill Avenue is decorated with multiple banners announcing Tempe’s Geek Week. Geek Week will feature multiple booths, activities and contests for all ages along Mill Ave February 15-24. (Photo by Ashley Kesweder)

ASU Venture Catalyst Geeks’ Night Out Celebration is a part of Geek Week, a celebration of technology and science that is sponsored by the Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives, a project of ASU’s Global Institute of Sustainability.

City of Tempe Community Services spokeswoman Kris Baxter said Geeks’ Night Out was successful last year with a turnout of 2,500 people, which encouraged the expansion into a week-long series of events.

“It will allow a bigger celebration,” she said. “We expect more people this year.”

Baxter said AZ TARDIS, a Doctor Who fan and cosplay group, will feature a life-sized replica of the TARDIS from the popular BBC show on the corner of Sixth Street and Mill Avenue.

The Tempe High School Robotics club will display robots students have built.

The R2-D2 Builders club will have replicas of R2-D2 and other droids. The replicas have been featured in the Rose Bowl Parade, “Deal or No Deal” and Star Wars in Concert, courtesy of Lucas Films.

Geoff Notkin, from the Science Channel’s show, “Meteorite Men,” will make a 3 p.m. appearance at Tempe Public Library and another at Geeks’ Night Out from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Notkin will be bringing meteorites for display.

Pop Culture Paradise will have several graphic novelists on hand for a comic book signing event at the ground floor retail space of the City Hall parking lot.

Phoenix Comicon will host a costume contest and a 6:30 p.m. costume walk around Tempe City Hall, led by Gordon McConnell, vice president for Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Venture Acceleration in ASU’s Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development.

McConnell said in an email statement that ASU Venture Catalyst helps students, faculty as well as people unaffiliated with the university to form and grow great companies in Arizona.

Geek Week and the Arizona SciTech Festival let us reach an audience we normally don’t get access to,” he said in the email. “So we’re excited to participate in this fun event to help promote STEM and entrepreneurship.”

Baxter said the Geeks’ Night Out event is great because the events are fun, and science is involved.

“It’s where science fiction and pop culture meet to make our world a better place,” she said.

Baxter said the event aims to teach younger kids in Tempe about cross-curricular science, technology, engineering and math programs. She said 20 percent of Tempe jobs are related to tech.

“We are growing our next generation work force that is heavily dependent on technology,” Baxter said.

ASU Venture Catalyst will feature a start-up spot for businesses and a Rapid Pitch event in which 10 participants have five minutes to pitch their business idea in front of judges.

Senior Venture Manager Fred von Graf said the event will give venture capitalists the opportunity to meet with inventors and share concepts in a smaller environment.

“We are capping it at around 100 people,” von Graf said. “It’s a lot of fun. It’s limited, but more intimate.”

More information on additional events at Geeks’ Night Out can be found at:http://www.tempe.gov/index.aspx?page=2679

 

Reach the reporter at amy.edelen@asu.edu