What do Swedes say is the #1 Technological Innovation?

Most of us can’t go 5 minutes without using something that’s been created with technology: cellphones, super-glue, dental floss, Google Maps, Velcro…deodorant (I hope I gotcha on that one).  Sweden’s National Museum of Science and Technology was founded in 1924 to highlight the contributions Sweden has made to the world’s technological advances; there are more than 50,000 objects to occupy your time and imagination.

Like this one, the waterless clothes washer of the future…

Grass Clothes Washer

“Naturewash, Electrolux Design Lab, 2009” Grass Clothes Washer

Naturewash uses negative ions, instead of water, to clean your clothes. You can lie on the Astro turf and take a nap while your clothes are being washed (I’ve always wanted to nap while doing laundry). And forget scented dryer sheets to freshen your wardrobe. With this handy washer, you can choose from a whole range of smells, including freshly cut grass or flower scents. Like wow, I don’t even think the Jetson’s had that!

Currently on exhibition, are the “100 Most Important Innovations In History,” as rated by Swedes. Making the grade, at #44, is the Boombox. Popular in the late 1970’s, the portable radio-cassette made it’s way onto the shoulders of music giants like LL Cool J, Madonna and The Clash, yet when my kids saw this they said, “Huh?”IMG_5229

Also making the list was Insulin, at #52, (not as popular as the boombox), but more popular than the swinging robotic dairy cow brushes…what??? Rated as #67, these gigantic plastic bristle brushes, resembling something from a car wash, are used by cows to groom their hair. True or false: they help lower bovine stress and prevent mastitis. TRUE! What I want to know is, does it come in a human version?

Also on the list are: teabags, the bra, and sunscreen (I’m grateful for each and every one.) IMG_5230Topping the chart at number one is…drumroll please…da-da-da-dum…the Computer! Yep, not much of a surprise.

Dear Mother Board, we love you. Growing up, our first computer was a TRS-80 from Radio Shack. It was mostly my brother’s, but when he wasn’t looking I’d sneak on and do super cool stuff like multiply 100 by 2,000 (that’s about all it could do). A few generations later, and look, in less than a minute I can find 100 ways to cook Quinoa, buy a movie ticket, and send a letter to my Aunt Dorothy. All I want to say is, “Swedes, you got number one right!”

If you get through the exhibit and still have time to explore, just head down the darkly lit staircase in the corner (hopefully not with a four-year-old, my daughter was terrified). It’s a pretend mine shaft. Copper and iron ore are two of Sweden’s most precious natural resources. The town of Kiruna (way up north where the Northern lights sparkle) has the world’s largest underground iron ore mine. It’s been in production since 1898 and has an estimated 400 million tons of ore left, expected to last until 2015. Um…that’s like two more years people. What then?

Keep walking and eventually you’ll come to an area filled with interactive displays for kids. Climb aboard an airplane…IMG_5249…solve puzzles or create a “Mondrian”design on a light board. IMG_5243

Keep winding around and you’ll pass a hall of mirrors. Check out some of our fun shots and my super skinny legs (mine are the legs in the left corner)…


Walk on and you’ll find your way toward the sports exhibit where you can test your strength against your friend’s (or your mother’s). IMG_5263My boys beat me in the slalom, but I won big in rowing. Haha! (Secret: there’s one easy and one hard rower; be sure to grab the “easy” one first.)

I'm lightning fast (or maybe that was just the camera moving.)

I’m lightning fast (or maybe that was just the camera moving.)

If you have an ounce of energy left, after running on the gigantic hamster wheel that powers an electric train (just trust me on this one), you can challenge your partner to a dance competition.IMG_5269This next picture is for my sister Keri (and anyone else with nerves of steel who needlepoints). They had this gigantic tapestry on display for their “Technology and Art,” exhibit. I can’t imagine how many hours this took to create but seriously, wouldn’t you rather play video games?

This is a needlepoint tapestry.

This is a needlepoint tapestry.

Or leave technology behind and head to the café for a relaxing lunch, mind you, without technology, there would be no Coke, panini or Swedish kanelbullar. So embrace the moment, take a picture of your meal, post it to your Instagram, and read your Newsfeed. Technology, where would we be without you?

4 Comments on “What do Swedes say is the #1 Technological Innovation?

  1. Honestly, I’m shocked you even remember this computer, but lets be clear. It was a TRS-80 *Color* computer with 16k of ram that took hard cartridges you plugged in on the side, and had a cassette player as a storage device. When we upgraded to 32k of ram, I thought that was the most awesome upgrade ever. Then when floppy discs came out and we upgraded the cassette player to an external floppy drive where you didn’t have to find the exact position on a cassette tape to save and load your program from, I knew I’d died and gone to heaven. That was seriously a pain to have to rewind your cassette tape, press the counter reset button, and then fast forward to 183, type “Load program” on the computer and hit play and wait for a minute while it loaded your code. How archaic by today’s standards…

    • Okay, so I stand corrected. See how much I used that computer? Not much has changed, with regards to my computer knowledge since then. Thank goodness Steve Jobs made a computer intuitive enough even I can understand.

      Sent from my iPhone

  2. Wow, and to think I missed out on all that. We actually inherited the TRS-80 when you upgraded, but used it for only a couple of years (yes the cassette and even hand typed program loads were a pain). At least the maze game was enough fun to be worth the effort. We were thrilled to get an IBM compatible XT in about 1985. Floppy (and boy were they floppy) disks rocked! I haven’t thought about either computer in ages.
    Thanks for posting the picture of the needlepoint. Whoever did that has amazing skills and more patience than me. Next time I’m working on a difficult project I’m going to remember the tapestry and say to myself, “At least it’s not a million little needlepoint stitches!”

  3. “External floppy drive” now that takes me back. Totally forgot about those! What a cool post! Thanks for sharing, not sure I will be getting to that museum anytime soon, so now at least I know what I’m missing!

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