Last week, I brought the boys to the iFuture exhibition at the Singapore Science Centre. If you think the present is highly digital, the future looks to be even more so! The exhibition is interactive, educational, and a fascinating glimpse into what is already possible and what is to come. I highly recommend it
- The exhibition begins with the Mechanical Cabaret Theatre, a wonderful collection of mechanical sculptures (called ‘automata’) from the UK. At a push of the button, these sculptures come to life, often humorous ways. Athos and Porthos were thoroughly intrigued. And so was I! Personal favourites include the Sheepshearer and Allegory of Love. I couldn’t get enough of these little mechanical wonders. You can see a virtual exhibition online here.
- Right past the automata section are several mini-arenas, each with a robot. Guides are onhand to teach you how to use the remote controls and Athos and Porthos had a go manoeuvering the robots. Athos, who is really into dinosaurs at the moment, loved the roboraptor (in fact I had to head off an argument over who should go first and for how long….). And there was another robot that can take your photo.
- Motion art – This is a screen which shows a digital, stylised and psychedelic version of you as you move in front of it. The kids had fun running up and down, doing jumping jacks, and just monkeying about, as you can see below.
- Segway – Oh that we were allowed to use these on public roads in Singapore! These electric personal mobility devices are surprisingly easy to use (and the guide told me kids master it much faster than adults), and visitors will get to try them out around a small indoor track.
- Digital koi pond – Lasers from the ceiling create the image of a koi pond. Touch the pond with your hand and watch the water ripple and fish swim away!
- ‘Minority Report‘ interface – In the movie, Tom Cruise and his team manipulate information just by ‘touching the air’. The kids got a chance to try this out. Very cool!
- Digital art table – We spent quite a lot of time here. It’s a table that functions like a PDA screen – you can write and draw using a pen-sized stylus, changing colours and stroke thickness as you please. When done, click the pushpin, and the picture is magically whisked from the table to the virtual corkboard! Here’s Athos drawing a picture of a car.
There was a lot more stuff than we had time to explore and the boys have made me promise to bring them back. The exhibition ends on 18 March and I think it’s well worth a second visit! Beyond just tickling their interest, it gave me a sense of what the future might look like – love it or hate it, we’re entering a digital age, and as a parent, the exhibition was a great reminder that our kids need to learn to master the medium, while not letting the medium master them.
Exhibition website here. Admission charges below (with a discount for Science Centre members), and includes admission to Science Centre.
(2 Adults, 2 Children)