Wired Nextfest 2005

Posted By on July 5, 2005

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About a week ago my daughter and I took a weekend trip to Chicago primarily to take in the Nextfest. We had a great time and some steamy hot summer weather. Prior to the doors opening on the Navy Pier we had a breakfast downtown and walk down the 3100 foot structure that makes its way out into Lake Michigan. Its an impressive structure and offer quite the view of the city for those who have never been there.
Navy Pier in Chicago

I particularly enjoyed the sailboats rounding the end of the pier and special time spent with my beautiful daughter. 🙂
Katelyn and the Chicago Skyline

The Nextfest is a display of technology not unlike the Worlds’ Fairs of many years ago. About 30,000 people attended this years Nextfext from June 24 -26th and experienced everything from the latest in electric cars (ie. The pride of OSU’s Buckeye Bullet) to the commercial experimentation with Hydrogen fuel cells.

GM's Hydrogen Techology

Although this particular car isn’t something we see on the road yet, GM had several current Hydrogen models that looked a bit more conservative, from the minivan to the Hummer. If your taste was a bit smaller, there was a Smartcar on display as well as several other vehicles.


I was of course drawn to things that fly such as the AMV-211 that I posted on before and the M400 Skycar from Moller International. According to the information, this 350mph flying comuter will be available by 2009 and run on alcohol.

Skycar M400
Skycar M400

NASA had several exhibits as well. From their current advancements in spacesuit technology to robotics. The scaled model for the next generation space plane as well as several solar sail deployment options were also on display.

NASA's Space Plane

Computer technology and interfaces were everywhere as well. From video games that you become part of on the big screen to tiny PDA’s with cameras where a virtual train is controlled on a track.

PDA train

There were displays of artificial intelligence and new forms of explosive detection. One particularly interesting interface was in mind control of a computer. The one below is a competition between two players who struggle to slow mind activity. The one who can relax their mind the most is able to push the ball toward the other player.

Mind control

All in all, Katelyn and I had a great weekend in Chicago. Its a great city and the Nextfest made it truly worthwhile. (although even without that there was plenty to do) Katelyn enjoyed some shopping, I enjoyed just sitting in the air conditioned greenhouse (see below) and we both enjoy eating outside overlooking Grant Park at Bubba Gumps. Our biggest problem was staying cool and the heat eventually encouraged us to take in an afternoon IMAX movie: Batman Begins. Not that I’m an avid movie goer … but this was a great movie!

Navy Pier Greenhouse


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  1. lacking in consistency, constancy, or visible order, disconnected; fitful: desultory conversation.
  2. digressing from or unconnected with the main subject; random: a desultory remark.
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