Ford Motor Company's Research and Innovation Center in Dearborn was bustling with activity on Thursday, as hundreds of children attended the company's "Take Our Children to Work Day."
The event gave children of Ford scientists and engineers an upclose look at the innovative activities conducted at the Research and Innovation Center, the nerve center for many of Ford's future technologies.
"Today is about fun and it's also about education," Paul Mascarenas, Ford's chief technical officer said. "It's important for our future generations to be excited about how school subjects like math and science can be applied in everyday life, including the role we play in the auto industry.
"It's gratifying to see a spirit of innovation alive and well in these children and in their parents as we develop new technologies for our vehicles."
Some of the day's activities included a town hall discussion with Ford President and CEO Alan Mulally, as well as a special luncheon and hands-on children's activities in many of the center's laboratories.
At one station, children designed balloon-powered cars using a balloon, straws, chop sticks, bottle caps, and a water battle to compete for the top distance.
Other activities included a crash safety demonstration to show how a vehicle is designed to keep passengers safe in an accident; and a visit to the Polymer Lab, where children got a first-hand look at how different types of plastic materials are used in Ford's vehicle design.
Bob Novak, a sensor technology specialist, led a presentation on liquid nitrogen and its various uses for engineers.
"Today has been a lot of fun bringing the kids into the lab and letting them play around," he said. "It allows children to experience how the jobs performed by their parents help develop the company's future technologies."