Welcome to the future: ideas that went from science fiction to reality - Deepstash
Science fiction a medium for futuristic fantasy

Many technologies are no longer part of the imagination thanks to the world of science fiction.

Some of the creative inventions featured in movies like "Back to the Future" and "Total Recall" are at the forefront of modern technology.

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Star Trek  - Communicators
  • The mobile phone. In Star Trek, the communicator was often used to communicate back to the USS Enterprise. In 1973, the first mobile phone was invented by Martin Cooper.
  • The universal translator. To understand galactic foreigners, Star Trek characters used a universal communicator. Now products like Sourcenext's Pocketalk and Skype's new voice translation service can provide instant translation between languages.

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Star Trek - Teleportation

The idea of "beaming" someone up was that a person could be dematerialised and then converted back into matter at their destination.

Although scientists can't teleport humans yet, they can teleport balls of energy known as photons. Teleportation is based on a phenomenon known as quantum entanglement.

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Star Wars - Holograms and bionic limbs
  • A hologram: As seen in the first Star Wars movie, a hologram is a 3D image made from the interference of light beams from a laser onto a 2D surface. In 2018, researchers created a real hologram. At present, it can only be done on a very small scale.
  • Bionic limbs: After losing his hand, Luke Skywalker receives a bionic version that can function like a normal hand. Recently researchers have developed a way for amputees to control each of their prosthetic fingers using an ultrasonic sensor.

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Blade Runner - Digital Billboards and artificial intelligence (AI)
  • In Blade Runner, a huge digital billboard appears on one of the buildings. This pre-internet concept inspired Andrew Phipps Newman, the CEO of DOOH.com. The company is dedicated to providing live, dynamic advertisements through the use of digital billboards.
  • Blade Runner revolves around the idea of synthetic humans, which needs AI. AI has some beneficial applications in reality, such as trained machines to find exoplanets.

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2001: A Space Odyssey - Space stations and Tablets
  • In 2001: A Space Odyssey, a Space Station is orbiting Earth. Here the astronauts can move around in microgravity. The Space Station V gave inspiration for the International Space Station (ISS), which has been orbiting Earth since 1998.
  • Tablets are handheld computers and used by people across the globe. In the 1968 film, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Dr David Bowman and Dr Frank Poole watch news updates from their "newspads."

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Back to the Future - Hoverboards

Back to the Future, Part II presents a hoverboard that Marty McFly "borrows" to escape.

The first real hoverboard was created in 2015 by Arx Pax. The company invented the Magnetic Field Architecture (MFA) that provides levitation of a hoverboard.

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Total Recall - Driverless cars

In the 1990 film set in 2084, the main protagonist Douglas Quaid is on the run from the enemy and jumps into a driverless car.

The idea that a car can take you to your destination using its onboard satellite navigation is becoming popular. At the forefront of driverless cars is the company Waymo. In 2017, NASA stated its intention to help in the production of driverless cars as it could improve technologies of robotic vehicles on other planets.

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