Technology is meant for museums.
The interest in museums has been growing by the minute. The curiosity, added to the hunger for information and references guarantee the evolution of the act of thinking. Art museums remain at the top of the list. Artist and art lovers go there to learn about the past and try and reinvent the present. In the realm of art, there have always been cycles and phases that could last long periods of time. Renaissance Art, for instance, lasted for almost two centuries, i.e. 15th and 16th centuries, and it still influences contemporary artists that search for a different approach and a new style until today. Leonardo Da Vinci and Michelangelo are two of the renowned artists of this period.
Nowadays, there are great differences inside museums. If we take a look at the realm of Art for instance, there are no great periods any more. Artistic phases today are not allowed the necessary maturing time to become a period. Each one lasts very little. The need to reinvent is always present, and artists are compelled to quickly find something new, different that everything that has ever been done. In the past, an Art Museum was supposed to collect, preserve, research, and value a set of elements of cultural interest and importance. Has this role changed?
The role of museums has been questioned. They have been given even greater importance. And an extra role. So much so that nowadays it is possible to notice a different type of museum coming into existence around the world: the innovation, science and technology museums. Big museums are turned into spaces that present us with avant-garde works much more than only history. In the quest for showing beyond trends and projects for the future, many countries are creating museums that present the world with a potential for innovation.
?Museum für Kommunikation
For instance, the Communication Museum in Berlin put on a special exhibition dedicated to the history of robots and the interaction between men and machines. It was called Die Roboter kommen! (‘The robots are coming'! in English) and displayed the development of robotic technology, but it was not restricted to technical themes.
Museum für Kommunikation (www.museumsstiftung.de, Leipziger Straße 16, Mitte, Berlin. +49 30 202940)
Stifung Deutsches Technikmuseum Berlin
Also in the German capital, Berlin's Museum of Technology is a place where you can find everything on the history and science behind devices and appliances we use on a daily basis.
Deutsches Technikmuseum (www.sdtb.de, Trebbiner Straße 9, D-10963 Berlin-Kreuzberg. +49 30 90254-0)
National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation, Odaibam, Japão
Just outside Tokyo, it is possible to find evidence that the great Japanese metropolis is not the only one to move at high speed, always around increasingly smaller screens. This evidence goes by the name of Nation Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation located in Odaiba, a 45-minute journey from Tokyo.
Odaiba is a big artificial island that is part of the Tokyo Bay and the Rainbow Bridge links it to the mainland. Inside the museum, you can find explanation of all installations on touch-screens in both English and Japanese. It is a must-see for those who like technology and science.
Opened in Odaiba in 2001, this fascinating educational museum introduces the world of new technologies to visitors, which includes interacting with robots, augmented reality, a planetary and displays that point to the future of applications that will be used in medicine and the environment. All of it, since the advent of nanotechnology.
?Symbol Zone Geo-Cosmos
Geo-Cosmos, which floats in the open space of the 1F Symbol Zone, is the symbol exhibit of the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation. Director Mamoru Mohri wanted to "share with many people the glowing image of the earth as seen from outer space." On the surface of this suspended sphere which is 6.5 meters in diameter are approximately 1 million LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes) through which it is possible to project various images relayed by satellite as the world's first spherical display. At the Oval Bridge, which surrounds Geo-Cosmos, environmental music that was planned between director Mohri and Mr. Ryuichi Sakamoto based on the concept of "the voices of earth and space," can be heard. Through the direction of wind, amount of solar radiation, temperature and wind velocity, sounds are created in real-time by the mechanism where it is detected by sensors set on top of the roof of the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation.
The museum best part is the fact that it attracts people in the 3-80 years age bracket. And to my great astonishment, children are the ones who enjoy the museum most. Maybe it is to do with the fact that perhaps they imagine that all that is displayed in front of their eyes will be obsolete in 20 years? This subliminal notion is maybe present inside our heads also but time makes us resistant to change. How wonderful it is to be a child and be able to look at a robot and wonder about a world of endless possibilities that can benefit from the use of new technology. How wonderful it must be to have a free open mind to use technology without any preconceptions or formulas.
Anyhow, I believe it is hard to understand what goes on inside a Japanese head. If one is powerful, let alone a bunch of 9 year-olds I saw inside the museum. They are simply ingenious.
It worth noticing the crucial role Japan plays in the quest for new technologies. It shows the rest of the world that besides being free, technology must be shared with the greatest number of people possible.
And so, everyone can add value and new ideas. I believe that Japanese people are way ahead of us, light-years ahead of us. The goals they set themselves are very long-term ones, and they find innovation on the way there in the mid-term. Everything is taken seriously there and a people that plays with robots in cartoons can't be underestimated, especially not the power of robotics industry. This is something we can try and learn, but we will need to think in the long-term to be able to keep up with the pace of development of the Japanese.
National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation, Odaiba
www.miraikan.jst.go.jp , 2-41 Aomi, Location Koto-ku, Odaiba
Transportation Station: Telecom Center or Fune-no-Kagakukan (5 min.)
Hours Wed-Mon 10am-5pm
Prices Admission ¥500 ($4.15/£2.10) adults, ¥200 ($1.65/85p) children