From a 3D printing to a ‘carbon loom’ that can weave you a new steering wheel, a new exhibition at the Design Museum in London explores the radical new ideas and technologies that are changing the way we design and manufacture products.
Taking place until 29 October 2013, The Future is Here: a New Industrial Revolution considers the influence of new technology on the way we manufacture, fund, distribute, and buy everything from cars to shoes.
The exhibition - a collaboration with the UK's innovation agency, the Technology Strategy Board - proposes that the boundaries between designer, maker and consumer are disappearing with a growing movement of 'hacktivists', who share and download digital designs online in order to customise them for new uses.
'200 years ago what happened in Lancashire's cotton mills and Cornwall's tin mines changed the world. Now it's the turn of Silicon Roundabout and the hacktivists,' says the Design Museum's director Deyan Sudjic.
The museum in London's Shad Thames will house its own factory where visitors can discover how 3D printing works and witness live production.
'A visit will reveal how the new industrial revolution has the potential to affect everyone, radically altering our attitudes to the pace of change driven by new technology,' says the Design Museum.
Mass customisation is a central story of the exhibition: from trainer manufacturers offering personalised shoes on a global scale, to 3D printed dolls with features that consumers can design and order online. A carbon loom invented by Lexus to weave car parts such as steering wheels and dashboards from strong carbon fibre is represented, and other exhibits include an open-source approach to architecture, the WikiHouse.
Other innovations explored in the exhibition include emerging technologies and platforms such as crowd funding, social networking digital looms, online marketplaces, 3D printing, nanotechnology, biotech, networked manufacturing, CNC [computer numerical controlled] routing and open-source micro computing
This is the first of two exhibitions to explore the potential of £D printing: 3D: printing the future will launch at the science museum on 9 October, and will feature 3D-printed replacement body organs, aeroplane parts and a music box.