The Museum of Science and History’s latest exhibit caters to both children and adults, using highly interactive demo stations highlighting technology just beyond the horizon, drawing inspiration from real science and science fiction.
All around the exhibit you will find images from various science fiction films and franchises. You might not recognize them all, but Doctor Who fans will immediately spot the Cyberman on the lobby screen, and there are images in the main upstairs exhibit of Star Wars and Star Trek scattered around. of the main exhibition.
Make sure you access the lobby display before heading to the main event, because designing a cyborg is a lot of fun! The teleportation screen in the main area has pads that bear a striking resemblance to those used in Star Trek, and for older kids and adults, there’s technical information on the principles behind it. Harry Potter fans will appreciate the invisibility display.
Don’t expect real experiences here. Instead, they’re fun simulations of what’s possible, now and in the future. The bracelets allow you to get a “medical exam”, which of course is not a real medical exam, but what it might look like. The same groups also let you find out what your future occupation might be (mine is a robot mechanic!) It’s the kind of thing that will spark the imaginations of young people and help propel future scientists. But digitization technology, using visual encoding to determine content, is a technology that exists today and is used in museums around the world to personalize the experiences of people interested in art and culture. story. Some apps on your phone today can use these codes to activate information when you scan them next to a specific exhibit.
Where I had the most fun was the beta brain wave competition. At this convenient station, you will need two players. Each puts a band around their head that measures the person’s relaxation, tracking things like beta brain waves. Between the two players is a table with a ball in the center. The ball follows a magnetic track between the players. The more relaxed you are, the more the ball is supposed to be pushed towards the other player. If you get them all the way, you win. It is possible, in laboratories with very specialized equipment, to use the feedback of brain waves to move objects or operate a computer. In 20 years, if the application is practical, it may be less specialized and more widespread. Instruments that pick up this type of brain activity are notoriously sensitive, so anything can disturb them. But that doesn’t really matter, because it gets players thinking about how this tech works, and it’s also fun.
MOSH curator Paul Bourcier believes that the interactive nature of “STEM-based practical and bodily stations engages both children and adults,” which leads to learning and innovative thinking. According to Bourcier, “the science fiction exhibition arouses curiosity” and he hopes that “visitors will learn from this exhibition about the advances we have made in the field of technology, as well as the opportunities for the future”.
The toughest science-tech demonstration in the room is the eye-track computer mouse. This is the current technology that actually exists, used for paraplegics or those who cannot use their hands. It takes a minute to acclimatize, but it’s quite rewarding. Of all the demo stations, this is the one that does something real and tangible. With many others, it’s hard to have a tech demo that doesn’t exist yet, so simulations of what teleportation looks like, or what invisibility would look like make it fun and accessible.
Another station called “Future Past” that you might find interesting is more historical than any of the others, retracing what we thought the future might be over decades and centuries. Each age has had a vision of what future technology might look like, and it’s fascinating to look back on those. You control what appears on the big screen, choosing the time period you want to see.
Everything is not based on IT and audiovisual. In a refreshing analog move, given the content of the exhibit, there is a drawing station with paper where kids can draw what they think the future might be towards the end of the exhibit, and where the designs can be exhibited. I liked that they weren’t on a computer screen, that they were easy to use (no one would have to share a screen), and that they used everyday tools.
If you have a range of ages to entertain yourself, Science fiction, Science of the future engages everyone from toddlers to adults. Not all practical displays reach such a wide range, but I can safely say that if you are interested in the technological possibilities, you will be engaged. Younger kids will love some of the simpler interaction stations (like the cyborg in the lobby and the invisibility demo), but older kids and adults will dig deeper into the text and some of the more complicated ideas, on everything, from wormholes to quantum mechanics.
Science fiction, Science of the future will be on display until May 13, 2018. For tickets and more information, visit theMOSH.org or call 396-MOSH.