We are drawn to the unknown, to uncovering secrets, and to unearthing the unseen nature of the modern world—from childhood TV shows that peer through the windows of factories looking at lines of chocolate cookies and milk bottles being made, to cottage industries that reveal to tourists the production methods of indigenous craftsman, even down to DVD “bonus features” that entertain us with how filmmakers cheat reality with special effects. Designers in particular are constantly looking for new ways to transform both old and new technologies and to apply them within the design arena.

The invention of machines that are used to turn out two thousand lightbulbs per minute or ultrafine flexible fiber optic cables has always amazed me ...

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