Exhibition Review: Inventing the 21st Century @ British Library

By M@ Last edited 103 months ago
Exhibition Review: Inventing the 21st Century @ British Library


The latest exhibition in the BL's tiny Folio Society Gallery is, like all the best innovations, really simple. Fifteen recent British inventions are arranged around the gallery with short information panels. And that's it. Inventing the 21st Century will take you 10 minutes at most, even if you read every word. It is a novel distraction rather than an exhibition.

That said, there are a few nifty gadgets on show. The motorised bicycle would come in pretty handy during the current Tube strikes, and the blade-less fan from Dyson might also prove useful in our burgeoning Indian Summer. Then there's the hypersonic alarm to deter loitering youths, which works on the principle that youngsters can normally hear higher pitches than intolerant middle-aged shopkeepers. But, in truth, the exhibition is little more than an awareness-raising exercise for the library's Business and IP Centre.

Of greater merit is the programme of events set around the exhibition. First and foremost, there's an Invent It campaign, which is collecting 'problems' that could benefit from an inventive solution (tweet to #bipcinvent). Then, there's a whole swathe of talks and workshops on invention, innovation, intellectual property and the like.

Inventing the 21st Century runs at the British Library until 28 November. Entrance is free, but some of the associated events incur a cost.

See also: our map of London inventions.

Last Updated 07 September 2010