Smithsonian festival to feature drones, man flying a jetpack


Yes, a man in a jetpack such as this one will be hovering over D.C. (JetPack International)

Smithsonian magazine will host its second “The Future is Here” festival this weekend in Washington. The event will explore science, technology, culture and the arts, with speakers ranging from astrophysicists to science fiction authors and robotics experts.

An impressive list of 28 speakers includes Star Trek alums Patrick Stewart and George Takei, author Stewart Brand, physicist Brian Greene and more.

“We’re living almost in a science fiction time,” said Michael Caruso, editor of Smithsonian magazine. “The time between imagining and building the future is growing shorter and shorter and we want to celebrate that.”

The fun kicks off with a cocktail party at the Air and Space Museum Friday night. Saturday morning’s speakers at the Ronald Reagan Building will be earth-focused, covering everything from artificial intelligence and de-extinction to the future of communities. The afternoon will be focused on space.

Visitors can witness drones and a jetpack in flight, thanks to special clearance from the FAA and the Secret Service. The jetpack demonstration will happen late Saturday afternoon in the courtyard outside the Ronald Reagan Building.

“One of great things people say about the future is ‘Where’s my jetpack?’ We’re going to actually show you were the jetpack is,” Caruso said.

Saturday night Stewart will host a premiere of the new X-Men movie “Days of Future Past.”

Tickets are $250 for an all-access pass. To learn more visit the Smithsonian’s Web site.

Matt McFarland is the editor of Innovations. He's always looking for the next big thing. You can find him on Twitter and Facebook.
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Matt McFarland · May 15