In today’s world with all the technology we want at our disposal, we may ask the question: how did we come up with these ideas? What some may not know is that many pieces of our present-day technology are heavily influenced by the futuristic ideas of iconic pop-culture movies and books of the past. From May 19 to August 6, The Ontario Science Centre has a new exhibit, POPnology, about how past pop-culture’s fantasy is our reality.
The exhibit has many different things to look at and touch, with many hands-on interactive installations. Through visiting this exhibit, children have the opportunity to learn more about the past, and how ideas for many of today’s inventions have sprung from the fantasy worlds of the past. Maurice Bitran, the CEO of the Ontario Science Centre, had great things to say about POPnology and what kids can learn from it.
He opinionated that the only hope that we have to solve the very severe problems that our world is dealing with today is through science and innovation.
Bitran encourages children to learn about the different solutions to these problems and to utilize the present-day technology at our disposal.
“…we need the younger generations, like you, to embrace science, technology, and innovation, and so, we think the best way to do that is to show the impact of that in our lives and how it’s fun and it’s interesting and you use your imagination and it leads to things that make our life easier and better.”
From Back to the Future to Star Wars, many of the featured movies show their idea of futuristic fantasy in this exhibit. Some of these ideas include time-traveling cars, artificial intelligence, and droids. While walking around, we happened to meet a working, life-sized, remote controlled, beeping-booping droid and its creator. The robot was based on the original design of the adorable R2-D2 droid from the Star Wars movie series. I was able to talk with the creator of his droid and he mentioned the process in which it took for him to be able to create this complicated piece of engineering and machinery. None of which would have existed if it weren’t for Star Wars movie franchise.
A creative concept and design expert, Edward Eyth, made an appearance at POPnology. I had the opportunity to talk to him about pop-culture as well as his work on developing the futuristic technological concepts of many of the movies featured at POPnology, such as Back to The Future II. His job in the year 1989 when the movie was taking place was to imagine what future technology would look like in 2015. He had to think 26 years into the future.
“It was one of the best jobs I‘ve had because basically I was locked in a trailer with several other designers and concept artists and we were just speculating about what would happen in the future, in 2015, which was 30 years prior to that. So, at the time, 2015 seemed so far off and now that we’re here looking back at some of the things that we designed, we were on and we actually predicted things pretty well, but some of the things we were well off with.”
The best part about the exhibit to me was how it was able to successfully merge two impactful topics, pop-culture and technology, and was able to appeal to both older and younger age demographics. Some younger children may not understand some of the pop-culture references, but will be able to find the technology of-the-future aspect interesting. Other guests who may not know as much about technology can enjoy looking at the featured books and magazines that they read and watched when they were young. There is something in POPnology for everyone and that is what makes this exhibit one of the best ones yet!
What lies ahead for the future of technology is still unsure, but at least we know that what lies ahead may be influenced by what we can call “pop-culture” here in the present.
“Imagination is more than knowledge. Knowledge is limited, but imagination encircles the world.”