It seems as though every day we are coming closer and closer to living in what we perceive to be The Future. In fact, a brief walk down 23rd street and you’ll know that we’re there already, judging by the amount of people staring into the small black rectangle they are holding in their hands.
But the “The Future” is about a lot more than ubiquitous computing and telecommunications. It’s a time and place full of marvelous feats of engineering, biological breakthroughs and mastery over the natural world.
This list of emerging technologies page on wikipedia is like a ones-stop-shop for every interesting technological development happening right now. It’s great place to keep track of “The Future” as it arrives.
In addition to being a really handy list, the technologies are broken down by industry (Agriculture, home appliance, etc.) and then into a handy table that includes the potential applications of the innovation along with links to relevant articles, and perhaps most interestingly a box for marginalized technologies – that is current technologies that will be replaced by new innovations.
This incredible article from Collector’s Weekly explores the forgotten world of the orchestrion, or as they call it, the iPod’s 4000 Pound Grandfather.
Apparently these things would sit in the living rooms of the wealthy and belt out tunes using live instrumentation on request:
“All through history, people have wanted to be able to have music when they didn’t necessarily have musicians around,” saysArt Reblitz, the author ofThe Golden Age of Automatic Musical Instruments. “That’s the point of everything from a wind-up phonographto a player piano to an iPod. An iPod’s the same thing as a giant two-ton orchestrion 100 years ago, except you can stick in your pocket and enjoy whatever you want to hear.”
An orchestrion, if you’re wondering, is like a souped-up player piano from the early 1900s. These automatic music machines encased in beautiful wood cabinets don’t just play piano but also drums, bells, and pipes that can imitate violins as well as woodwinds and horns. As MP3 players get smaller and smaller, certain people are rejecting this miniaturization of the music-listening experience and full-on embracing orchestrion nostalgia.
The article is even full of links to videos featuring fully operational units doing their thing.