The 1939–40 New York World’s Fair was the first of its kind to feature the future, with exhibits from around the world that allowed visitors to look at “the world of tomorrow.” At that Fair, more than 44 million people attended one particularly influential exhibit and ride: Norman Bel Geddes’ Futurama, which prophesized an American utopia with streamlined vehicles, cutting-edge technologies, and a built environment that would ultimately reform society.
Over the past 70 years, we’ve seen in hindsight that Bel Geddes’ masterpiece may not have gotten every detail correct. The advances haven’t come as quickly as Geddes thought, of course; by the 1960s, ads were still touting driverless cars of the future, and it’s only been recently that autonomous vehicles have begun testing in various areas.
However, Bel Geddes Futurama display illustrated what we still aim to do: Harness the technologies and ideas we have today to present a “new and clearer view of today in preparation for tomorrow.” Mouser’s eBook, The Internet of Moving Things (part of the “Shaping Smarter Cities” series with Grant Imahara, in partnership with WIRED Brand Lab) puts autonomous vehicles smackdab in the middle of connected infrastructure, where IoT meets mobility.
Think of all of the solutions that electrical engineers design…. To store, analyze, and gain insights from big data; to govern technologies and develop standards; to provide speed, security, privacy, and ease-of-use; to accommodate a plethora of data formats, devices, and populations; to make urban living more efficient, cost-effective, and more environmentally friendly; and to keep up with a continuously-changing technological landscape. Well, these solutions will soon be on the move, zipping along in a streamlined, tailored, and self-driving vehicle; connecting to other vehicles, infrastructure, and people; and changing the way people work and live.
Many visionaries since that fateful World’s Fair have demonstrated that streamlined, tailored, autonomous vehicles at the center of a built environment will ultimately reform life and work as we’ve known it. With the ingenuity and courage of those who came before us—and who currently work with us—we’ve made significant headway. In what ways will technologies continue to evolve to reach this dream? That’s up to us.
Norman Bel Geddes will be proud.
For videos, eBooks, blogs, and more, visit Mouser’s Empowering Innovation Together™ site and Mouser’s Applications & Technology site.
Deborah Ray joined Mouser in early 2017 as Executive Editor of Technical Publications, bringing more than 20 years of experience in technical publishing. As an author, she has coauthored more than 20 computer books, has published a dozen journal articles, and previously authored two nationally syndicated newspaper columns. Deborah spent 11 years as Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of TECHWR-L Magazine, the oldest and one of the largest online publications for technical communicators worldwide. As an educator, Deborah has taught graduate courses in technical communication at three universities, as well as undergraduate engineering communications courses, in traditional, online, and broadcast classrooms. She currently serves on the editorial board of directors for IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication.
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