(CNN) Speculations about the future are often bleak, but for its 175th anniversary, the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC is presenting a grand vision of how the world could radically change through a blockbuster exhibition of technology, design and art. Housed in the Art + Industries Building (AIB), the Futures show will fill 32,000 square feet of space with a combination of real projects currently in the works, design proposals from the present and past, and prescient artistic concepts. Rachel Goslins, director of Smithsonian AIB, calls the show a contemporary Worlds Fair of ideas.

I think its safe to say its the only exhibition in history where you can play a video game with your eyes, talk to an emotional robot, visit a deli from the future and do your laundry, said Goslins.

Smithsonian is the largest network of museums, education and research centers in the world, and the shows curator Ashley Molese points our that the AIB has debuted many history-making objects on public display for the first time, including the lightbulb, the telephone and the Apollo spacecraft rockets.

Now, they hope to continue their legacy of innovation, she explains. We have so much help these days imagining what could go wrong in the future, she said. But we also need help imagining what could go right. Here are eight standout concepts and objects from the show.

Back to the Future 2 predicted wed have flying cars by 2015. Blade Runner predicted wed have them by 2019. But its 2021 and we still have yet to see cars in our skies. (The Jetsons wagers we still have until the 2060s; The Fifth Element, the 2250s.) At Futures, a new concept will make its debut the Bell Nexus Air Taxi, designed by aerospace manufacturer Bell Textron, is a self-flying hybrid car designed to take off and land vertically. While passengers still have to be patient before they can flag a ride from above, this eternal future vision may finally arrive soon: Uber and Hyundaihave teamed upand have set their sights on 2023 for the first prototype.

With urban populations exploding, the sprawl may eventually move from land to sea. Thats the idea behind Bjarke Ingels ambitious concept for a floating city, which the Danish architect presented with artist Olaffur Eliasson and the company Oceanix at the UN two years ago. The Bjake Ingels Group (BIG) has become famous for their eye-catching, sustainable, modern designs around Denmark and beyond, and is currently underway on building Googles new campus in London. But the idea for Oceanix City is on a grand scale. The hexagonal, modular plan of the proposed ocean metropolis claims to be entirely adaptable based on a citys needs, while the infrastructure is designed to be sustainable and natural disaster-proof.

Can science help same-sex couples have a baby that shares both parents DNA? With progressing stem cell research and technology such as the gene-editing technique CRISPR it is only a matter of time, andhas already been achievedwith mice in a lab setting. The artist and designer Ai Hasegawa imagined such a future through the speculative design project (Im)possible Baby, created when Hasegawa was at MIT. Hasegawa worked with a couple who both want to be bio moms, using their DNA data from the at-home genetic testing kit 23andMe to create simulated imagery of their potential children together. The project featured an album of family photos as well as a 30-minute documentary film that aired in Japan.

A working hyperloop in the US has been teased for around a decade, and with Virgin completing its first human trial last November, the futuristic travel option finally seems within reach. A hyperloop a vacuum tube for land travel that reaches flight speeds has been long imagined in science-fiction but was propelled forward by Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk and Silicon Valley investor Shervin Pishevar in 2012, with Virgin Group founder Richard Branson coming to the table in 2017. The Virgin Hyperloop Pegasus, which will be on display at Futures, is a high-speed pod designed to travel up to 670 miles per hour, intended to connect major cities by minutes instead of hours.

When you die, become a tree thats what the Italian design team behind the concept Capsula Mundi is proposing. Raoul Pretzel and Anna Citellis concept for an egg-shaped biodegradable urn topped with a new tree has circulated on the internet since they first introduced it in 2017. While it is still coming to market four years later, the concept for eco-friendly urn has been exhibited around the world and will make a stop at Futures.

In Frank Herberts Dune franchise, the desert-dwelling fremen create potable water by recycling all of their bodily fluids via their stillsuits they would likely be envious of the solar-powered Waha Water Harvester, which can convert water vapor from the air even in the most arid conditions. (In 2019, the startup Waha tested its technology in the Mojave Desert in California.) The Water Harvester can produce enough water for two to three adults a potential life-saving appliance for the quarterfacing extreme water stress and Waha has plans to scale up to design a harvester with enough power to hydrate an entire village,accordingto Berkeley News.

As the worlds population continues to balloon, food security has become a more pressing issue particularly as climate change threatens our agricultural stability. Its one critical area that Googles parent company, Alphabet, is exploring through X, its moonshot factory dedicated to solving world-scale issues through technology. Xs Mineral Rover prototype, debuting publicly at Futures, is a four-wheeled autonomous rover the size of a small car that uses artificial intelligence to help farmers maximize crop yields and reduce ecological impact namely through the amount of water and chemicals required. The Mineral Rover can identify weeds and potential issues with plants as well as evaluate the ripeness of fruit,accordingto Smithsonian.

What if Washington DC became a flourishing wild ecosystem again? That question is the basis for an AR project by artist Tamiko Thiel, who has transformed one of the exhibition halls into an idyllic wildflower habitat. Thiel, who contributed design to the first commercial AI supercomputer 35 years ago, worked with Smithsonian horticulture experts to visualize a radically greener future that attendees can experience through an augmented reality overlay.

Futures is opening November 20, 2021, and will remain on view until July 6, 2022.

Top image: The Bell Nexus Air Taxi

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