New Science-Themed Escape Room Gives Your Brain A Workout

Escape rooms are all the rage these days, often requiring you to solve a riddle or a puzzle within a limited amount of time in order to “escape” the room. A fun group activity that requires cooperation and problem-solving skills, these escape rooms usually require logical thinking to solve the puzzles and they are often mystery-themed.

However, in a new escape room at the Lincoln Square Mall in Urbana, III, you need to actually brush up on your science smarts as the attraction will require you to solve mind-bending puzzles that are all based on science.

Called LabEscape, the new mall attraction tells the story of Professor Schrödenberg’s disappearance and of the evil agents who want to take hold of her quantum computing research for their selfish purposes. Players are then tasked with saving the day by way of completing the assigned mission by solving science puzzles and riddles.

The brainchild of a bona fide physicist along with a crew of physics students, the LabEscape requires no previous scientific knowledge. However, it does require a fair amount of teamwork and effort, as well as the willingness to think creatively collectively if you really want to solve the game.

True to its name, the puzzles themselves are all backed up by scientific principles, although without these explanations, the challenges almost seem magical. All of the puzzles are also highly effective and artistic. For example, one of the challenges requires you to wear polarized glasses such as the one used in 3D movies, giving the escape room an opportunity to discuss to you the polarization of light. In fact, this principle itself reveals how the glasses work as the polarization affects light in such a way that it sends a slightly different image to both your left and right eye.

Opened back in January of 2017, the attraction, which is a nonprofit, has managed to attract over 4,500 visitors. Following this, the attraction’s creator, quantum Physicist Paul Kwiat of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Campaign, has brought many incarnations of the escape room to meetings, with plans of even putting it in science museums in the future.