The first thing that catches the eye is IBM's sparkling 123-foot long, 12-foot high LCD wall lining a tunnel leading into the bowels of the NYC landmark. The "living" wall thrives off the surrounding environment, visualizing traffic patterns and analyzing corresponding air quality from nearby Broadway. It also shows the solar potential of every rooftop in the city, financial transactions and the amount of water leaking from the main aqueduct. As the event's producer Lee Green simply put it, the idea behind the set up is to "delegate understanding" to "intrigue and inspire" even the least technologically-inclined.
Entering the main exhibit, we're met by darkness and 40 seven-foot screens that will soon come to life, telling stories of space exploration, weather prediction and medicine. The fun-house feel of the 360-degree video presentation give patrons a look into how inspired thinkers have used technology to solve world problems. Sound idyllic? Well, it is. Part of its "Smarter Planet" initiative, one of the vignettes describes how some do-gooders used IBM software to map the rice genome, identifying what was killing crops and helping to end hunger. After the video presentation, visitors can meander through the maze of touchscreens to explore various achievements -- and hopefully leave feeling inspired to give it a go themselves.
Outside the exhibit stands the company's achievement wall -- showing off IBM's humble beginnings as a punch card clock company and ending with Watson. The biggest takeaway is just how many achievements IBM has actually has been a part of -- everything from typewriters and the modern day credit card magnetic strip, to the computing power behind the Apollo space mission.
The set up is there to remind us that technology isn't just about the iPhone 5. It's there to inspire action and change the way we think, really. To pull a quote from the THINK website, "Change is easy. It happens by itself. Progress, on the other hand, is deliberate."
You can come check out the free exhibit in Lincoln Center through October 23rd, but if a trip to the Big Apple isn't in your cards, check out the video below.