Dubai's Museum of the Future: We time-travelled to 2071; discovered 'Tomorrow Today' in a spaceship

Two-hour tour is divided into five exhibits located on different floors: OSS Hope (Orbiting Space Station), Heal Institute, Al Waha (Oasis), Tomorrow Today and Future Heroes



by

Sherouk Zakaria

Published: Wed 23 Feb 2022, 11:11 PM

Last updated: Thu 24 Feb 2022, 3:20 PM

You will step into the future once you set foot at the entrance of the Museum of the Future - Dubai's latest landmark that officially opened in a gala ceremony on Tuesday night.

The interiors, mirroring the beauty of the building's stunning facade, reveal that the landmark's title "most beautiful building on earth" has been well earned.

The white curved ceiling is engraved with 3D calligraphy, outlined with flowing lights - a feature that distinguishes the seven-storey landmark's exterior facade.

The calligraphy-designed walls are framed by the intricately-designed spiral staircase and three capsule-shaped elevators that assist your journey towards the future.

Photos by M. Sajjad
Photos by M. Sajjad

By day, the calligraphy allows natural light to be cast inside the building, while at night, it glows with LED lights over 1,024 plates of calligraphy.

We are greeted by a floating silver penguin that flies with no assistance or ropes. Apparently, the creature is remote controlled - another reminder that the future is here.

Our two-hour tour is divided into five exhibits located on different floors: OSS Hope (Orbiting Space Station), Heal Institute, Al Waha (Oasis), Tomorrow Today and Future Heroes.

Tour guides are present at every corner of the Museum to provide a seamless and smooth journey into the unknown.

Our journey begins at the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Port where Aya, a digital resident of the Museum of the Future, shows up on a screen to welcome us to 2071 and prepare us for take-off to the OSS Hope station.

Briefly introducing us to the journey, the avatar warns that "the worlds you will encounter are not predictions, they are challenges."

She captures the theme of the entire journey around the seven-storey building by giving us our task "to explore and return with discoveries that can help the present."

Visitors to the Museum are pioneers who will take part in shaping the future.

Stop 1: Ready for take-off

We are then welcomed aboard our spaceship, a replica of NASA's 1981 space shuttle, to take off to OSS Hope, which is 600km above the earth.

During the 4.5-minute flight, we watch Dubai in 2071 through the windows of the space shuttle in a breathtaking scene as we gradually rise above the earth and land in space.

After docking at the OSS Hope, we are ushered into the station's command centre, where we have a full view of the moon and the broader galaxy, monitoring alarming phenomena and finding ways to overcome earth's pressing issues.

Photos by M. Sajjad
Photos by M. Sajjad

We are also introduced to the many functions of the station, including the Sol project, a global effort to power the earth using solar energy collected from space. Solar panels circling the moon absorb energy, which is then converted to laser beams of electric energy aimed towards a network of deflectors and satellites that beam the earth with microwave energy.

Photos by M. Sajjad
Photos by M. Sajjad

OSS Hope, which is named based on the five pillars of sustainability, innovation, creativity, humanity and hope, aims to give visitors hope about the future of Dubai and the world and make them optimistic about the unknown.

We are then guided to six missions that are seeking recruits, and visitors are encouraged to apply. Two portals, equipped with the latest interactive technologies, introduce visitors to each mission after they swipe a bracelet that was handed to them upon arrival.

In a mind-blowing interactive experience, visitors are taken to stations where they can apply to take on different roles in the six missions, including Mars Colony Ambassador to Earth, Asteroid Fleet Pilot or Junior Bio Designer on earth's orbit. Their faces are scanned at the stations before being displayed on an astronaut figure on a screen for each role.

Photos by M. Sajjad
Photos by M. Sajjad

From here, we land back in Dubai at the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Port, on a mission to save the ecosystem and protect the earth - our home. A simulated journey shows the view of future Dubai from the Museum with fascinating skyscrapers and fleets of flying cars around the emirate's skyline.

Stop 2: Heal Institute

Arriving at the Heal Institute, which deploys cutting-edge virtual and augmented reality technologies, we are introduced to the wonderful digital Amazon Forest.

We head towards the 'Vault of Life', a DNA library that displays 2,400 specimens locked in stunning bright jars of different colours where we learn of the different species and understand the damage caused by climate change that made some species endangered or extinct.

Photos by M. Sajjad
Photos by M. Sajjad

The lab assistant takes us around to collect samples from three different specimens using a scanning device called biosynth that displays the species' status - whether it's extinct or endangered.

We then head to a virtual lab where we can genetically modify endangered and extinct species, resulting from the merged three specimens we collected, and assess the success as part of the efforts to restore the natural environment, rehabilitate the forest with its living species, plants and animals, and help repair the damage inflicted on the forests.

Photos by M. Sajjad
Photos by M. Sajjad

The nature simulator allows visitors to list the living organisms they contributed to saving virtually and then analyse them through a digital visualisation of the earth to demonstrate the impact of our efforts at restoring life to the forest ecosystem that forms the lungs of the planet.

Stop 3: Mental health sanctuary

We then head to the Museum's "spa", titled Al Waha (the Oasis). In a bid to promote the importance of mental wellbeing in shaping the future through a series of activations, Al Waha encourages visitors to take a break from technology and reconnect with their spirit, mind and body.

Using different meditation and relaxation techniques, part of the exhibit encourages unity and solidarity through interactive simulations centred at human development as the core of earth's prosperity.

Heatless virtual sand encourages people to stand together to form a big circle.

Photos by M. Sajjad
Photos by M. Sajjad

The 'Feel Station' gives visitors a hand massage through supersonic waves beaming from a netted device.

The 'Grounding Station' uses gongs reminiscent of ancient civilisations that produce vibrations that encourage people to close their eyes and return to the present moment.

The most fascinating of all was the 'Connect Station' that invites six people to sit around an interactive table and hum through a speaker. The voice vibrations drag through lights on the screen and combine them into a diamond that brightens when the unity of voices is achieved.

Photos by M. Sajjad
Photos by M. Sajjad

Stop 4: Tomorrow Today

We take the elevator to the 'Tomorrow Today' exhibition, a journey to the near future, which features more than 50 prototypes and currently available tech products that aim to overcome future challenges. Futuristic self-driving cars, jet suits, drones, robotic falcons were displayed to highlight five key areas that will help build a better future.

The fives areas in focus are future cities and communities, agriculture and irrigation solutions; food security for humanity; sustainable waste management; and environmental protection.

Photos by M. Sajjad
Photos by M. Sajjad

The exhibit tackles the major question: What can we expect in the next 50 years from now? Inventions and designs on display answer that question.

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Stop 5: Children's immersive playground

The final stop is the children's play area titled "Future Heroes" that feature different games to engage the five senses, tap into the young ones' imagination and improve their critical thinking.

The interactive experiences for children aged three to 10 allow the little ones to remain engaged in 'constructing' their future while their parents experience the future around the iconic landmark.

Beyond presenting an architectural miracle and impressive technologies, the museum offers a starking reminder: that the future starts with us.

The immersive experiences inspire people to take a hands-on approach towards change through zooming out into their future self.

From a space station to a laboratory and an oasis for mental wellness, visitors are reminded that humans are at the centre of any beautiful future; solving the existing critical challenges is our responsibility to create a prosperous future for our children.

sherouk@khaleejtimes.com


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