What kinds of futuristic things would tweens want to learn about?
July 22, 2015 12:58 AM   Subscribe

What are some cool futuristic-related companies or organizations that would be interesting subject matter for tweens? I produce kids programming, and I'm looking for interesting subjects--robots, flying cars, tech, 3D printing/electronics, drones, etc. Time to poll the mega-interesting members of MeFi!!

The segments are sort of like Mr Rogers Picture Picture (behind the scenes, but not necessarily "how it's made"). Also more modern and silly than Picture Picture. Think a "virtual" field trip - and the segments usually include interviews by kids or young adults who can sometimes ask silly or unexpected questions.

I'm looking for companies/organizations along the lines of NASA (already have produced segments with them this year), SpaceX/Tesla, National Geographic, ISS, etc. It can even be loosely related - like TV/film (Futurama would be amazing--too bad it's off the air! Maybe Dr Who? I know that's big with the kids).

Other notes:
- Location doesn't matter
- Primarily looking for companies/organizations, but individuals are good, too.
- Big names are best! But I'm also looking to feature awesome, lesser recognized groups/people.
- Assume I can make the right internal connections to make a production visit possible (but would take introductions from anyone who has a connection to somewhere cool!)

I'll take any and all suggestions and ideas! I'm a huge sci-fi nerd, but I'm coming up low on ideas that would appeal to the tween age group (my son is a toddler, so his "future" interests only involve watching totoro over and over, and eating grapes).

Thanks in advance!
posted by bienbiensuper to Media & Arts (15 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Google's self-driving cars seems like a possible one.
posted by crocomancer at 1:28 AM on July 22, 2015

Siri and Amazon Echo. The techie kids I've met are obsessed with this.
posted by thetortoise at 1:39 AM on July 22, 2015

The most primitive Holodeck... Projectors giving a total 360 surround, and a 360 degree "Treadmill" means you can walk in any direction. Multiple Kinect camera sensors send whether you are standing or crouched... Imagine playing Battlefield 3

Some one did build it.


You can also do one about the motion sims, driving, airplane, etc.
posted by kschang at 2:09 AM on July 22, 2015

IOT related things, maybe Adafruit?
posted by hz37 at 2:11 AM on July 22, 2015

Anything you can relate to Mine Craft is probably going to go over well with quite a few of them. Defense Contractors often have cool stuff like robotic exoskeletons.

Don't forget that it doesn't have to be new science wise to be potentially interesting to a tween. Consider looking at jobs where people work with their hands, like the companies that design and build stages for touring performances for famous groups/singers, (Tate Towers etc), or zoo workers, or people working at the ports with big ships and cranes, or chocolatiers.
posted by gryftir at 3:16 AM on July 22, 2015 [2 favorites]

Game design, particularly for an app game, might be interesting.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 3:52 AM on July 22, 2015

What about the 10,000 Year Clock? Or de-extinction.
posted by unknowncommand at 4:06 AM on July 22, 2015

I really love the idea of cube satellites... small, modular satellites that you build out of off-the-shelf components.
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 4:23 AM on July 22, 2015 [2 favorites]

gryftir: "Anything you can relate to Mine Craft is probably going to go over well with quite a few of them."

Microsoft and their recent augmented reality version of Minecraft would be a big hit.
posted by Rock Steady at 5:17 AM on July 22, 2015

My tween nerd daughter is interested in 3D printing, anything of the Star Trek universe, Dr Who (even though she's never seen it!), Neil deGrasse Tyson, animals, "the future", robots, and food science, to name what first comes to mind. I think she'd be into stuff related to making the world better too, like a solar energy plant, or some kind of climate researcher if not given too apocalyptic a spin.
posted by latkes at 6:34 AM on July 22, 2015

Electronic music: Korg littleBits, plus their line of "small" synth modules plus some of the new stuff from Teenaged Engineering, plus many others. There seems to be a new emphasis on low cost, almost 'boutique' hardware that can do some very interesting things (ie, we're not talking cheap plastic Casio shit). In addition, there's an ungodly amount of iOS software for music creation and it may not be front-page news, but the inevitable merge of OSX and iOS is going to have a pretty big effect on the music industry.
posted by doctor tough love at 6:53 AM on July 22, 2015 [1 favorite]

This is kinda a self-link, but I work in a university research lab that's contributed a lot to virtual and augmented reality tech. I'd be happy to put you in touch with our PR people; MeMail me.

Maybe one of the "Maker-friendly" subtractive manufacturing companies, like Other Machine Company in SF? I don't have a contact for them directly but I've heard they're good people.

Seconding Adafruit. This sounds right up their alley.
posted by Alterscape at 8:08 AM on July 22, 2015

Japan's maglev trains (example): it goes fast and it floats!

Alterscape's Other Machine Company suggestion could be great. The parent company, Otherlab!, also does work on soft robotics, exoskeletons, solar trackers, bicycles and more.

Behind the scene of a Cirque du Soleil show
posted by JackBurden at 8:33 AM on July 22, 2015 [1 favorite]

Two Bit Circus integrates art with STEM and incubates some interesting events and interactive experiences that are specifically designed to inspire (think high-tech room escapes, public art, circus acts, robotics, electronics, game machines, etc.)
posted by doctordrey at 9:02 AM on July 22, 2015

Oh speaking of manufacturing I have a good friend at a 3d printing company that makes special orthopedic and athletic shoes. The made-to-fit athletic aspect might be fun. Memail for contact info.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 10:39 AM on July 22, 2015

« Older Help me come up with a job title   |   Jade Plant Collapsed, why? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.