A Summer Trek Through Time and Technology

As you walk down the narrow street you’re surrounded on all sides by dazzling shop windows displaying all manner of high tech toys, games, entertainment, and hardware. Even more bewildering are the alien gadgets in the hands of nearly every passer-by. Its technology so advanced, it’ll be years before you’d see it in your neck of the woods. You haven’t just arrived in the in the Akihabara District of Tokyo—you’ve arrived in the future.

 

You see, all you need to get to geek heaven is a lift via plane, train and/or automobile and the coordinates to a bucket list tech destination. You decide the mode of transport and we’ll take care of suggestions for the perfect techie getaway.

 

Okay, back to the future!

 

OPTION 1: Akihabara District – Tokyo Japan

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Since the end of WWII, the Akihabara District has been known as the go-to market for household electronic goods, earning it the apt nickname of “Akihabara Electric Town.” That tech tradition continues to this day. The District has blossomed into a dizzying display of the latest and greatest in innovation, complete with a dazzling array of state-of-the-art consumer gadgets. It’s not only a fun place to explore, but also a great way to see what’s next in the consumer tech world. As Gonzague-Alexandre Gay, owner of AkihabaraNews put it, “We have things [in Japan] that you don’t have in other countries, but Akihabara is the niche of the niche.”

 

OPTION 2: The Centre for Computing History – Cambridge, England

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Now let’s head back in time. Want to use a vintage Amiga, BBC Micro, or Sinclair ZX is like? This is probably the only chance you’re going to get. The Centre for Computing History in Cambridge, England has preserved important artifacts from every step of the computer’s meteoric rise of the past 50 years. There are also calculators – not-so-distant cousins of the PC - and plenty of iconic old game consoles to be enjoyed. If it thought in 1s and 0s, it’s most likely here. But the museum isn’t only about the past. It also explores what is happening today and what will be happening tomorrow.

 

OPTION 3: The Tech Museum of Innovation – San Jose, California

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In the heart of tech-Mecca, aka Silicon Valley, stands the region’s tribute to the industry that put it on the map, The Tech Museum of Innovation located in San Jose, California. Since its opening in 1998, the museum’s amazing exhibits—including an earthquake simulator, a build-your-own-robot experience, and an IMAX Dome Theater—have attracted over 4 million visitors. The museum also offers temporary exhibits that highlight how tech has changed our lives and offers perspectives and predictions from our greatest minds. It’s a must-see for anyone with a tech fascination.

 

OPTION 4: The HP Garage – Palo Alto, California

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Speaking of Silicon Valley, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the site where the area’s reputation for innovation was born: the HP Garage. The house at 367 Addison Avenue in Palo Alto was built in 1905, but didn’t meet its date with destiny until 1939 when Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard decided to split the $45/month rent and make its garage their research lab, development workshop, and manufacturing facility. The rest is technology history. The garage was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2007. While the house and garage are currently not open to the public, you can swing by it while you’re in Silicon Valley (visiting the Tech Museum, of course), and take a shot of it from the sidewalk.

 

Got any bright ideas of your own for a summer technology pilgrimage? If you could visit any tech heritage site in the world, where would you go? Let us know in the comments.

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