Day at the museum: Dubai pop-up offers futuristic glimpses

The Museum of the Future is the brainchild of Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum

Shadaan Hammam
Shadaan Hammam - Special to Al Arabiya English
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Furry robot cats, prosthetic mind-controlled legs, and replacement knees that give you the mobility of a comic book superhero were just some of the exhibits on show at a sneak peak of Dubai’s Museum of the Future.

Held at the World Government Summit earlier this month, a massive tent showcased a number of fascinating technologies – many of which will be released over the coming years.

Small in size, but filled with boundless groundbreaking concepts, a line of entrée showcase glass and LED screens welcomed visitors. The first display showcased a prosthetic leg, nothing we have not seen before. But what made it different was that it was sensory based, meaning it can actually be moved by your brain, as if it was a real ligament. The leg is manufactured by Icelandic mobility solutions company Össur.

The future belongs to those who can imagine it, design it, and execute it. While others try to predict the future, we create it. Museum of the Future will be an integrated environment empowering creative minds to test, fund and market ideas for futuristic prototypes & services.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum

Two displays away, beside a plaque titled 'Joy For All,’ sits a sultry cat waiting to be nurtured and loved. With a full-grown physique carpeted with a luscious layer of long white fur, it is easily mistaken for a real cat. The pet is designed by Hasbro, an American company that specializes at interactive robotic companions which are believed to reduce depression levels. Three strokes later, the kitty’s languid head movements and fluttering blinks had me smiling from ear to ear.

Astounded by the innovation, I continued my journey deeper into the science pod to find myself surrounded by hypnotizing clockwork projections that lead to The Augmentation Spa. There is a significant change in atmosphere, and I am suddenly encompassed by plain white canvas walls; it feels like I entered a sterilized cocoon. The spa is a metaphorical incubator nurturing products that will enhance human capabilities by 2030-2035, according to staff members.

Here are my top three products from The Augmentation Spa, which were available at the pop-up museum and will be available at the Museum of the Future in Dubai in 2017.

1. Group think: team edition

An implant which allows telepathic communication between coworkers. Goodbye emails, and farewell mundane meetings!

2. New knees

No matter how old you are, these pair of transplants will give you superhero capabilities. New knees will allow you to jump miraculous heights (I am talking about from one roof top to another) in addition to running at the speed of light. Flash and Spider Man won't have anything on you!

3. The smell of success

This implant that translates social media and economic performance data into actual smells, giving you a keen nose for social or business opportunities. ‘Sniff Sniff’ smells like money!

The highlight of my museum experience was the interactive gaming room. A start button is projected on the ground; stepping on it activates an outpour of virtual molten lava followed by blue panels spread across the mixture. The idea is achieving a high score by jumping from panel to panel and avoid "falling" into the deadly lava. In heels and formal attire, I swiftly foxtrotted (rather than jumped) for my life.

I felt like an anachronism during the entire tour- as if a time machine zapped me into an ultra-modern dimension.

The full museum will open in 2017 in the Emirates Towers area near Sheikh Zayed Road in Dubai.

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