10 Gadgets from Movies That Became (or Are Becoming) a Reality
Us tech and Sci-Fi aficionados are always on the lookout for the latest and greatest. We’re constantly starving for the best, bleeding-edge technology, and we drool when we watch the Star Treks and Minority Reports of the world thinking, “we’ll never get there.” Think again, because here are 10 gadgets from movies that became a reality. Some of these may not be in mass production yet, but if we’ve made it this far, just think of the possibilities.
- Minority Report Style Gesture Based Computers
- Magnetically Tethered Flying Vehicles
- Universal Translator
- Heat Rays/Ray Guns
- Ion Thrusters
- Video Phone Watch
- Invisibility Cloak
- The Iron Man Suit
- Force Fields
This one has been mentioned several times before, and there are plenty of videos showcasing the different advancements in touch/gesture-based computing. All you have to do is Google “minority report computer interface” and you’ll get many hits, including a TED conference video demonstrating different applications for the technology. Find out more here from PopSci.
Yes. Just yes. According to Gizmodo, researchers at Cornell have been playing with superconductors and permanent magnets. They’re looking to use this to keep spacecraft tethered together without touching just like the pod racers in Star Wars. Fast forward a few years though, and we’ve got ourselves magnetically tethered advanced spacecraft.
Obviously this won’t translate alien languages, but it will translate almost any language in the world on the fly, back and forth. We have our handy Mr. Ray Kurweil, futurist, inventor extraordinaire to thank for this. Check out his universal translator.
H.G. Wells was the originator of this concept over 100 years ago in his novel War of the Worlds. Since then, heat rays have been a staple of Sci-Fi films and TV shows. No longer is it science fiction, however, since the military has been testing its own heat ray. They claim the rays do no permanent damage, but make you feel as if your skin is burning. Check out this other ray gun the military has in production and is supposedly testing in Iraq. Image via Daylife.
These guys have been the propellers for every spaceship since who knows when. And we can only dream until we’re able to hit warp speed. Until then, check out NASA’s Deep Space 1, which was launched over 10 years ago in 1998 which uses ion thrusters to propel itself to speeds upwards of 88,000 mph. This spacecraft uses a cathode to fire high-energy electrons into a propellant, converting atoms into positively-charged ions by kicking off electrons.
How many times have we seen James Bond talking to his wrist? Now you can do it too. Enter the LG GD910 3G Watch Phone. They introduced this one at CES 2009. You can check out a video review of it over here, and check out plenty of photos here.
For all you Harry Potter fans, this one’s for you. It’s been several years that Japanese scientists at the University of Tokyo have been working on a real-life invisibility cloak. Their results have been promising. Even more so, scientists at Duke University made claims about 5 months ago that “within six months it’s certainly viable” to have a working model and cloak visible light. Check out this article for more info. Also, National Geographic posted a great article late last year.
Who wouldn’t give anything for a suit that gives you superhuman strength, supersonic flight capabilities, the smartest AI visor ever, and most of all, style? The Iron Man suit is still many moons away, but this is a step in the right direction. Inventor Steve Jacobsen and his company Sarcos, are working on an exoskeleton that makes it possible for humans to lift hundreds of pounds without even trying. The suit is still in the rough, and it looks more like something that Sigourney Weaver would wear (it also only runs for 40 minutes on batteries), but who knows… maybe in 15 years?
Coming soon to a military near you, force fields. This one is up there along with hover crafts and warp speeds. Supposedly, the US along with many countries around the world, are pumping plenty of cash in R&D for plasma shields. The theory goes that plasma, which is gas with all its particles ionized, thickens at high temperatures. Not sure it if could stop much of anything yet. It’s still in development and it could take years more to come to fruition, but it’s closer than many other fantasy techs (ie time travel).
Not in the Terminator style sense we tend to think of, but a South Korean conglomerate announced the Intelligent Surveillance and Guard Robot. It looks a bit more like a gatling gun with legs, and it’s stationary, but it can identify humans, trees, and vehicles 2.5 miles away. Each one costs about $200,000. Watch the robot in action.