Isn’t it a little uncanny how the wildest imaginations of today often become the unexpected technological realities of tomorrow? Our tech-savvy world is evolving fast — so fast, in fact, that the innovations that might seem outrageous at any given moment are often made possible not that far into the future. Long-time fans of SciFi classics will recall a plentiful parade of awesome advancements on the tech front that were once a matter of fiction. Here’s a look at some of the coolest ones that actually exist in some shape or form today.
Who doesn’t remember the thrilling chase scene in The Return of the Jedi where the camo-adorned Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia zip through the forests of Endor battling Stormtroopers on wailing hoverbikes? Many companies are prototyping different types of hoverbikes today, but our favorite by far is the actual working one cobbled together by British inventor Colin Furze. This slightly dangerous DIY “don’t try this at home” version is a sight to be seen, particularly with its neon lights and bottle rocket-shooting mods.
2. 3D Printing
The ability to speak the name of a food or item and then have it magically materialize made Star Trek’s replicators pretty high on the must-have future tech list. While we haven’t quite reached that level of awesomeness yet, 3D printing is definitely the next closest thing. The technology is amazing: we’ve been able to 3D print everything from edible food and working firearms to actual human organs that have been successfully transplanted into animals. Good stuff!
3. Air Touch Screens
Imagine being able to reach out into thin air to interact with a holographic computer interface and type out an email, order a pizza, or tackle whatever mundane task you imagine would be made by cooler by crazy SciFi tech. You actually don’t have to imagine it any longer, it exists! A Taiwanese company has created some sweet shades that project a virtual interface you can interact with by tapping the air. File this one under: extreme want!
4. Video Calling
Sure, we all take handy services like Skype and Facetime for granted now, but years ago the thought of calling someone and being able to see them face-to-face over a monitor seemed like a far-fetched impossibility. Remember that “futuristic” scene from Back to the Future II where the elder Marty McFly of the future gets axed by his boss over video? Yeah, that sort of thing is very doable these days.
It’s hard to ignore the huge buzz over the arrival of true Virtual Reality experiences on the consumer market in recent years. VR is absolutely huge, but you don’t have to look far back in our past to find a time when electronic experiences were little more than a few jagged pixels on the screen (*cough* Atari 2600 *cough*). We’ve come a long way since then, and real VR is far more impressive than the goofy depictions in films like Tron and The Lawnmower Man would have you believe.
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