The Future Technologies Museum in Odaiba
Miraikan is the Japanese name of the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation, located on Odaiba’s artificial island in Tokyo. Inaugurated in 2001, it focuses on scientific themes such as space exploration, robotics, and advanced technologies. The museum is frequently used by Japanese big companies as a window for their latest creations such as state-of-the-art androids.
State of emergency in Tokyo prefecture: admission to Miraikan only upon reservation from June 2, 2021 as a preventive measure against Coronavirus in Japan.
The aerial metro line Yurikamome, that connects Odaiba to Tokyo’s center, offers an impressive view on Miraikan’s glass curves. The sphere of the Theater Dome, the museum’s panoramic cinema is also bulking from the modern building, giving it a unique appearance. At the upper floors of the museum, a café and especially the restaurant Miraikan Kitchen are unexpected observation places over the artificial island and the Ferris wheel Daikanransha. As a matter of fact, the exhibitions are not the only attractions of this museum, and its surroundings are worth a visit as well.
Geo-Cosmos, the museum’s iconic earth globe
Visible from afar and from the exhibition rooms, a massive earth globe is suspended above dizzy visitors in the vast atrium. The sphere is covered with thousands of LED panels and spending hours watching it is easy. At the ground floor, sofas are laid out for visitors to comfortably admire the globe and use interactive screens. Those screens can, for example, send messages on Twitter or pictures of the oceans’ streams. At an upper level, connected tablets are displayed to observe in details global events currently happening, such as forest fires, birds’ migrations, or earthquakes.
The third floor offers several interactive activities themed on the future of the Earth. An installation even helps to imagine a hypothetical future projected according to social, ecological, economical, and cultural parameters selected beforehand. The game is then to face the major disasters that ensue and find a way to avoid or solve them. The little extra of the game: players receive messages from Earthlings of the future, telling how the planet evolved along the years. In addition, scientists and economy experts give video explanations to help understand the impact of the decisions made and the current challenges for the planet.
Meet the robots
At the same floor, visitors can discover the latest creations of Japanese robotics. For example, Otonaroid a very realistic female-looking humanoid robot, invites to the conversation with her. This encounter may surprise and even disturb as its expressions are very human-like.
Asimo, the little robot that looks like an astronaut, does its show several times a day, on the main plaza. It walks, jumps, and dances with its two legs and sings a song. It is so impressive and cute it is difficult not be charmed.
On the fifth floor, the visit continues with an area themed on spatial exploration, with in particular, a replica of the ISS (International Space Station) inside. It makes it easy to imagine how astronauts eat from food packs, move in zero gravity, sleep and even do their business. More technological items are also displayed, such as American rocket’s propulsion engine or a neutron detector.
A museum both instructional and interactive
On a totally different subject, part of the space is dedicated to the development of a child’s brain in four steps:
- Inside oneself, a section focused on the learning of emotions;
- With the other, focused on the process of mimicking and the acknowledgement of alterity;
- In the middle of…, that highlights the learning of social relationships, with language, memory and first dilemmas;
- To the future, that invites children to create their own story and human relationships.
Interactive screens allow younger visitors to answer questions about situation from drawings, such as identifying emotions, or mediate a disagreement.
Tourists will appreciate the numerous explanations in English available in all the exhibition rooms. The Miraikan proposes a well-thought pedagogic offer, that makes complex scientific topics accessible to everyone.