Springs Preserve peeks into the future in latest exhibit

From mind games to cyborgs, the Springs Preserve’s latest exhibit offers a tantalizing look at the future.

“Science Fiction, Science Future,” in the preserve’s Origen Museum, is meant to showcase technological innovations that could become real and those probably left to the imagination. The touring exhibit was designed by the SciTech Discovery Centre in Perth, Australia.

“We suspected that the technology aspect would be of interest to older visitors, and adults especially, and that they’d be able to share their excitement with their children,” museum curator Aaron Micallef said.

There’s something interesting for visitors of all ages, from a “draw your future” station, where kids sketch robot houses and underwater cars, to a laser display on quantum mechanics. The more unlikely advances, such as teleportation — “Beam me up, Scotty!” a la “Star Trek” — are showcased alongside the more feasible ones, such as bioscans, where the technology already exists today.

Step inside the exhibit and put on a bracelet; you can scan it at a podium to see what your profession will be in the future. Maybe you’ll be a space tour guide, or a robot mechanic.

As you wander from station to station, you’ll be immersed in the glow of dim blue lights. At one station, kids can design their own cyborgs by spinning one of three stacked cubes to choose a head, torso and legs for their ’bot friend.

Move along, and you’ll come to what seems to be a favorite among the kids: the mind control game. Pull up a stool and strap a headband with sensors across your forehead. It detects alpha, beta, theta and delta waves and your brain-wave pattern will be displayed on a screen. A small ball lies on a plane in the middle of the table, and moves across the surface underneath a long rectangular glass dome, based on how relaxed you are. Think about something stressful, and the ball will move in the opposite direction of your goal. Relax your mind, and the ball will move toward your opponent’s goal. Whoever remains most calm wins the game.

At another station, you can step onto a platform, then step forward and watch yourself disappear under a “cloaking device.”

The Mediobioscan simulation unit requires you to stand on a platform while you are “scanned” for physical illness or deformities. The screen will tell you if you need an “upgrade,” such as a robotic hand.

Wondering what people thought the future would be like in the 1920s? You can select any decade from the 1890s up to the 2010s and view a series of clips, including old advertisements for self-driving cars and video footage of a car that floats in the air from today. Folks from the ’60s must be pleased that their dream of online shopping is now a reality.

“The strength of the exhibit is that it connects the past aspirations and dreams of adults as children — telekenisis in the future — with the reality of today, like moving a ball with your mind,” Micellaf said.

“Science Fiction, Science Future” may be easier for the younger generations to navigate because rapid changes are just a part of their lives.

For 68-year-old visitor Pat Mitchell, though, the exhibit was a bit intimidating. “It’s totally beyond me,” the Kelowna, British Columbia, resident said with a chuckle.

The exhibit is on display through Jan. 8 at the Springs Preserve, 333 S. Valley View Blvd.

Read more from Brooke Wanser at reviewjournal.com. Contact her bwanser@reviewjournal.com and follow @Bwanser_LVRJ on Twitter.

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