The Gadgets Page

October 25, 2012

Disney’s Carousel of Progress: See The Gadgets of Yore

Filed under: Retro Gadgets — Laura Moncur @ 8:00 am

I feel as if I’ve found a gem! Here is a video showing Disney’s Carousel of Progress, which used to be in Tomorrowland in Disneyland, but is now at Disney World. It showcases all the gadgets of yesteryear. It was supposed to be a hopeful look at the technological progress we have made over the last century, but it also was a commercial for the new things that GE had for sale. Now, however, it is merely a historical look at gadgets.

Even the so-called “future” of this attraction is so quaintly set in the past with its virtual reality games and microwaved pizza for Christmas dinner. Back in the early 90s, we all thought virtual reality was going to be the wave of the future, but it still hasn’t arrived yet. Here is a photo of a disappointing virtual reality booth at Comdex in 1996.

Disappointing VR Booth at CES 1996 from The Gadgets Page

Now, virtual reality sounds quaint, just like the idea of flying cars. They would be cool, but I don’t have any hope that either one will materialize.

When it comes to predicting the gadgets of the future, it’s far better look to science fiction than to the hopeful aspirations of gadget companies. For example, this short film, True Skin, has an abundance of ideas about biotechnology. I wonder if it will feel just as dated in ten years as the final scene of the Carousel of Progress.

In the end, predicting the future of technology is far more difficult than it seems. For every science fiction idea that finally comes to fruition, there are fifty that remain in the realm of fantasy. I’m sure that there IS a great big beautiful tomorrow on the horizon for us. It just might not look like we expect it to.

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