At the Design Museum's new exhibition, we are presented with the hopeful tech giants of the future: whether their legacy will be a fad or an intimate addition to our day-to-day, well, only time will tell.
In a room where, ironically, books take precedence, you feel and hear the exciting whir of its displays all the more. Let's face it, this kind of display is one of the main pulls of places like the Science Museum, and here, they certainly made me feel the same kid-in-a-tech-candy-shop feeling. Some fascinating machines are displayed; some demonstrated; and some can even be demonstrated hands-on – yay! Here you can have a go at building your own doll using digital customisation, check out the details behind a gadget using an app and watch a crane – which has a thrilling resemblance to Iron Man's Tony Stark's Jarvis – build a wall.
A main attraction for me is the 3D printer, for it is still somewhat futuristic in my imagination – having previously only seen pictures, it became a reality as I watched it slowly but surely print out a well-fluffed plastic sheep, lovingly built on an impressive-looking Mac by a quietly busy assistant. The potential for such an item to print anything from furniture, tableware, mechanics, gadgets and ornaments doesn't seem so far fetched when the results of such innovation are right in front of you. History has taught us that what seems strange and other-worldly at one time can become almost boring in a couple of decades, what with mobile calls being a day-to-day necessity and the internet (now a rather unappreciated entity in our modern world, don't you think?) it's not hard to agree. This rather Red Dwarf-named printer "Makerbot Replicator 2" was one of the first whirs that drew me in, but not the last.
A big inspiration for a lot of the exhibits was, surprisingly, sustainable and environmentally-friendly inventions. In what could be our New Industrial Revolution, we are here shown to be learning from our past endeavours, even if new technology could threaten that aim – if we have a 3D printer in every home with which we can make more items at our own will, would we care much about these objects? Would we use more? Or would the digital customisation, that arguably would make no home the same, even this out? Our first Industrial Revolution brought with it pollution, waste, landfills and detrimental damage to the environment. This exhibition highlights that the new revolution may seek to not only remedy that but also demonstrate that they don't come hand in hand. The Future is Here certainly raises a lot of questions.
Educationally, this exhibition makes it fun with timelines, immersive activities and impressive inventions. I didn't understand a lot of what was written – I guess I might need to read one of the many books written on the subject to fully appreciate the filled room – but I enjoyed what I did understand. These designers know their stuff and know how exciting modern technology is and it's incredible potential.
The Design Museum shows the history of tomorrow and it's going to be good. Definitely one for everyone's inner nerd.