It's a rare thing that can bring a sense of wonder back into the life of a jaded technology journalist. Okay, so maybe I'm not that jaded, but I do enjoy a reminder of what makes the technology I read and write about on a daily basis so magical.
Walking into the Toshiba Science Museum in Tokyo I was greeted with a dancing game. But this wasn't just any dancing game. My competitors were Toshiba founders Hisashige Tanaka and Ichisuke Fujioka. This is when I knew I was going to have a good time.
Among the exhibits for Toshiba products — everything ranging from solid state drives to radiotherapy facilities to hybrid vehicles drive systems — are models featuring a whole range of alternatives to fossil fuels supported by Toshiba. Solar PV, wind, geothermal, tidal, nuclear, hydrogen and carbon dioxide capture all got cool little dioramas to help explain how things work.
And then there was the superconduncting Maglev system display, explaining the mechanisms of magnetic levitation with what essentially looks like a smoking UFO on a racetrack. "Let's experience the wonder of superconductivity!" the sign reads, with unbridled enthusiasm. That enthusiasm is contagious.
There are displays at the Toshiba Science Museum about all manner of things in our lives being improved by technology — housing, health, road safety — but one thing I didn't expect to find was my sense of fun. Turns out it was hiding in a room full of static electricity this whole time.