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POPnology offers an exploration of pop culture’s impact on technology. Photographer: Erik Wirtanen/ASU.

Pop culture and technology often go hand in hand. Television and movies – think Star Trek or Back to the Future – have inspired, influenced or even foretold much of the technology and gadgetry we use everyday.

POPnology, a new exhibit at the Arizona Science Center in Downtown Phoenix, is exploring this concept. The exhibit offers an exploration of popular culture’s impact on technology – past, present and future – and its direct effect on how we live and work, how we move, how we connect and how we play.

Were some of our favorite devices, such as the smart phone, invented by science fiction? What current ideas in science fiction will become a reality in the future? POPnology highlights fantasy and reality – the driverless car, gaming stations and tomorrow’s toys, robots, drones, 3D printers and more.

The exhibit includes four key areas:

How We Play: Highlights include a virtual reality gaming by Oculis Rift, 3D projected playing fields and hands-on activities with familiar and cutting-edge music instruments.

How We Connect
: Examine communication throughout social history, how far we’ve come, and where we’re going, from landline rotary telephones and VCRs, to video chats and smartphones.

How We Move: Featuring popular culture hallmarks in transportation including Mars rovers, jetpacks, Marty McFly’s hoverboard, the first 3D printed car by Local Motors.

How We Live and Work: See some of the most fascinating innovations currently shaping our lives, many of which were predicted in books and movies. Experience how those dreams have turned into reality through hands-on, visitor-controlled demonstrations.

Ultimately, the exhibit gives us, as engineers, a new way to consider the technology we use and the many sources of inspiration for its creation.

Arizona Science Center
Exhibit runs through May 15, 2016
600 E Washington Street, Phoenix [map]
General Admission starts at $18 for the museum, although discounts may be available online. Buy tickets
Learn more about the exhibit 


POPnology highlights ways that popular culture has affected actual technology. A display from E.T. – The Extra-Terrestrial shows materials used for E.T. to “phone home” in the movie. Photographer: Erik Wirtanen/ASU.


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