During my last trip to London this month I went to the Design Museum to get a look at The Future Is Here exhibition. A quick walk through the history of industrial design brought me to the 21st century's product and industrial design hand in hand with the latest technologies in design manufacturing.
Emerging technologies, such as crowdfunding, digital looms for social networking, online marketplaces, 3D printing, nanotechnology, biotech, networked manufacturing, Computer Numerical Controlled (CNC) routing, and open-source micro-computing, together with new manufacturing techniques, are already involving users in a new way, revolutionizing the role of the consumer. Basically, anyone can contribute to the production of our physical world.
These emerging technologies and platforms are making manufacturing accessible to anyone with a creative spark, and curiosity for experimentation. Not only will industrial design and manufacturing change, but fund and distribution will also see a significant transformation.
To showcase this transformation in engineering design and manufacturing, the Design Museum London houses the first "factory" (see slideshow below) where visitors are invited to discover how 3D printing works, and witness live production along with the friendly explanations of six of their non-trained technicians experimenting with six machines.
If you are in London, I encourage you to visit The Future Is Here exhibition at the Design Museum. The exhibition is a collaboration between the Design Museum, the UK's Innovation Agency, and the Technology Strategy Board, and is open until October 29. After immersing yourself in a sea of wondrous examples of the evolution of design engineering, you can take the opportunity to go for a stroll by the River Thames, just outside the museum.
If due to geographical impediment you can't visit the exhibit in the flesh, the slideshow below offers a curated sample of what I saw there. This virtual visit ends with a reflective thought of the evolution of design as a whole, and a view at Tower Bridge, and London's skyscrapers.
Click on the first picture to start the slideshow:
The Future Is Here at London's Design Museum
The Future Is Here presents emerging technologies that are rapidly becoming the growth sectors of tomorrow. Designer, maker, and consumer are become "one" in an era with a growing movement of hacktivists. Sharing and downloading digital designs online in order to customize them for new users is a common place rapidly expanding into different manufacturing sectors. The exhibition looks at what exactly drives innovation, and how this can lead to increased manufacturing productivity, and economic growth.
(All photos courtesy of Susan Fourtané)