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San Diego Fleet Week kicks off with STEM Fair

Posted at 6:40 PM, Sep 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-09 21:40:24-04

San Diego Fleet Week kicked off Friday with the STEM Fair at the B Street pier -- an event meant to get kids excited about technology and engineering.

The mixed reality lab showcases some of SPAWAR's most cutting edge technology. It uses augmented reality, which is a similar concept to the popular "Pokemon Go" and virtual reality, which immerses the user in another realm.

Navy diver Robert Carlos will be on hand this weekend at the STEM Fair. He loves how kids light up when he tells them about his job. Some decide it is their dream, and one kid touched his heart.

Carlos said, "He was like, 'What does that pin mean on your chest?' I'm like, 'I'm a Navy diver.' He's like, 'Oh, that's awesome.'"

He and the other sailors acted like excited little kids at times when they tested the new technology on Friday.

Heidi Buck, director of the mixed reality lab, said, "They realize how this can immediately apply to their job."

Users can do 3-D maintenance training and sharpen their shooting skills. It brings training to life like PowerPoints and textbooks cannot. Buck said it cuts program costs from millions to thousands.

"We can run them through the craziest scenarios that might be really important and save their life one day," Buck added.

Carlos has been to too many funerals.

"It goes to show that nobody's above danger," Carlos said. "We're in the military."

A funeral was where he met the kid who looked up to him, right after the boy's dad was killed in combat.

"I remember him running out and saying my name," Carlos explained. "I looked over at him, and he saluted me, and so that was definitely a touching moment."

He said the new technology really matters, so it can keep them safe while they keep the country safe.

The STEM Fair runs from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. Saturday and Sunday on the B Street Pier.

The Sea & Air Parade is Saturday on the San Diego Bay from 12:00 p.m. until 2:00 p.m. Both are free and open to everyone.

More information about Fleet Week's many events can be found at https://www.fleetweeksandiego.org.