Science fiction has played a prominent role in inspiring the technology industry. Authors, directors and artists have come up with ideas that have seemed impossible to create or so far in the future as to seem silly. But we now have a lot of these sci-fi items in our homes. Here are five sci-fi gadgets that are part of today’s reality:
There isn’t just one show that predicted the popularity of video calls. “The Jetsons” featured little TV screens that projected someone else’s image so you could chat with them face-to-face from your living room. There also were video calls in “Spaceballs” and “2001: A Space Odyssey.” Video calls no longer seem that futuristic since we have the capability to call anyone from our computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones.
This is another current tech item that may not seem that impressive until you think about how far television sets have come. It wasn’t that long ago when box TVs filled our homes (almost literally — they were massive). Now TVs are slim, light and even curved in some cases. They are mounted on walls, come down from the ceiling and lift out of cabinets. This type of tech can be seen on “Star Trek,” “Back to the Future” and “Total Recall.”
We’ve been obsessed with the idea of artificial intelligence for a long time. There are countless books, movies, TV shows and even music videos that talk about human’s relationships with robots, whether positive or negative. There are problematic predictions of futuristic robots seen in “I, Robot,” “2001: A Space Odyssey” and “Terminator.” However, there are plenty more positive human-robot relationships depicted in everything from C-3PO and R2D2 in “Star Wars” to Jarvis in “Iron Man.”
AI is becoming a bigger part of our world with personal assistants and smart technology in our mobile devices and homes. Siri, Cortana, Alexa and now Bixby are all examples of today’s AI. Bixby, part of the Samsung Galaxy S8, is the newest kid on the block. You can ask Bixby to set reminders, search for items with a picture, tell you what restaurants are nearby and so much more.
“The Jetsons” did it again with this prediction. The show’s robot vacuum has been in the modern world for some time now. The Roomba and other robot vacuums can be programmed to clean your floors at certain times and are even smart enough to be able to turn when they hit a wall and avoid swallowing large items.
“Star Trek” made another amazing prediction with this sci-fi gadget. The creators came up with the idea of replicators that could produce items out of thin air. While 3-D printers don’t quite make items out of nothing, they do use tiny materials to make it seem like the products are coming from nowhere.
Three dimensional printers have taken this sci-fi invention a step further in the medical industry. Doctors are working on ways to print implants, stents and other medical necessities out of organic materials so patients’ bodies react more naturally to foreign objects in their bodies. While “Star Trek” may not have thought of the wide applications for this technology, it did help inspire inventors to create something out of nothing to revolutionize today’s world.