The Henry Ford's Innovation NationSpring 2017 Television
You know who would be fun to sit next to at a dinner party? The people who said, "Yeah, sure, drag racing is fun, but it's a little 'last century.' What about drone racing?"
Fear not, even if you don't get to break bread with these innovators, you can watch them in action. The Henry Ford's Innovation Nation, a half-hour TV-magazine spotlighting history's innovators and today's big thinkers, is produced through a partnership between Litton Entertainment and The Henry Ford, a cultural center in Dearborn, MI, celebrating the spirit and work of the American industrialist and founder of the Ford Motor Company, is hosted by endlessly affable Mo Rocca.
Tweens and teens and their parents will enjoy this program because it's well-produced; it's educational and always mindful that it's meant to be entertaining, too. The characters featured (like the folks who formed a drone racing league) are interesting and they're visionaries to say the least, but they still come off as regular folks who had big ideas and didn't give up until they found a way to bring them to life. There's a profile of a football coach determined to reduce concussion injuries, and the engineers who worked with him to design a robotic tackle dummy called the MVP (mobile virtual player). Another story takes viewers deep inside a mountain in Norway to tour a vault that houses, of all things, seeds from all over the world. The Svalbard Seed Vault serves as a safety deposit box of back-up seeds and workers there explain how they preserve crop traits that could otherwise be wiped out by natural disasters. Segments in other episodes feature the maker of wheelchairs for injured animals; a surfer who devised a motorized board for adrenaline junkies; and a jet pack inventor who actually straps that thing to his back. Short interstitials between segments use graphics and historical photos to highlight inventions of days past, ranging from the practical (such as the invention that automated shoemaking) to the more whimsical, yet no less impressive, lava lamp.
For anyone who's ever thought, "Hey, you know what would be a cool invention . . . ?" The Henry Ford's Innovation Nation is a must-see, both as an homage to the makers and modernizers who brought us to where we are today and as inspiration to all the young tinkerers and creative thinkers who will propel us into the future.