Art imitates life, but sometimes, it goes the other way around! Movies influence our commonage culture, and gizmos and contraptions that exist in popular fiction become embedded in our imaginations. And sometimes, someone figures out how to brand one of those imagined devices come up to life. Whether through straight imitation or just absorbing the zeitgeist of the times, these movies helped inspire incredible inventions used in the real world today.
The Terminator — Avant-garde Flight Drones
It all seemed so futuristic back in 1984. Bi-pedal armed services robots? Flying drones that think for themselves with no humans involved at all? A mysterious hive-heed network called Skynet? What an imagination. That stuff will never happen, right?
Fast-forrard to 2019, and self-flying military drones almost seem quaint. The first kill past a military machine drone occurred in 2002. Paired with AI and the internet … the pic isn’t too far off. Perhaps someone clever at the Pentagon saw
and started taking notes.
Talking computers that responded to voice commands were first popularized in
on TV. But information technology wasn’t until
2001: A Space Odyssey
that audiences saw a depiction of a sentient talking supercomputer that could play chess, run a starship and take a chat all at once.
Nowadays, many of our devices respond to voice commands, but they haven’t achieved an independent consciousness. Though many were originally inspired by
Star Trek, the technology is rapidly approaching HAL 9000 levels. So far, no one’southward gotten hurled out of an airlock. Yet.
The Lawnmower Man — Virtual Reality Headsets
To be blunt,
The Lawnmower Man
was a terrible picture. However, it did introduce audiences to a craptastic 90s version of CGI virtual reality that merely existed within the confines of a figurer. The way 1 could navigate through this landscape was a VR headset and giant human-sized hamster bicycle … er … gyroscope.
Except for the gyroscope office, however, the VR headset in the film isn’t too far off from what’s commercially available today. Sadly, the full-body spandex with neon piping has non caught on equally the proper uniform in which to savor VR. 1 can dream.
The Spy Who Loved Me — The Wet Bike
The first functioning jet ski-similar vehicle that most audiences ever saw made its debut in the James Bond movie
The Spy Who Loved Me
in 1977. This was a real, functioning water vehicle chosen a “moisture bike”, not a special effect. It actually existed, merely it wasn’t sold on the wider market until 1978.
Sit-down versions of jet skis and other crafts similar to a wet wheel, like the Sea-doo, were not widely bachelor until the late 1980s. Was James Bond the reason they caught on? Perhaps.
Full Recall — Flatscreen TVs
Full Call up
aimed to capture the virtually-time to come, not the distant one, and with the exception of Mars existence a colony, everything in the film looks similar a variation of what we might have today.
One affair the pic predicted especially well was the advent of giant flat-screen TVs for consumers. The creators even got the attribute ratio of the widescreens mostly correct. Although nosotros don’t use giant flatscreen TVs as landscapes in our homes, some businesses practice use giant LED screens to promote films or display other advertising.
Star Trek: The Motion Picture — Flip Phones
The flip telephone-mode advice device was beginning seen in
the original series. When it became a movie franchise with
Star Trek: The Move Picture,
the creators slightly modernized the device’s look to make information technology seem more contemporary.
Interestingly, the crew never held this device to their ear, like a regular telephone. They always flipped it open to activate the channel and used it as one might utilise a speaker-phone. Just like
communicators, mod flip phones tin track location (albeit via satellite) and connect to a estimator network.
Minority Written report — Movement-Based User Interfaces
How cool was information technology in 2002 when Tom Cruise pulled out his motion gloves in
and started manipulating images in the air with his hands? We didn’t know it yet, but a very similar version of that applied science would be bachelor in a matter of a few years, not decades.
First, the mitt movements are very similar to the gestures used on a touch screen to enlarge and browse images. Second, video games that used a move-based interface or remote became widely available as early as 2006.
Blade Runner — Digital Billboards
The digital billboards seen in
were another piece of technology that seemed afar and cool back in 1982. We don’t yet have flight cars or replicants running around, simply most major cities have at to the lowest degree a few giant digital billboards that lite upwardly the dark sky.
London and New York have notable displays in some of their tourist trap areas, only Las Vegas is the city that has embraced the technology completely, with digital billboards practically everywhere you look. The advent of LED technology helped brand it possible.
Star Wars: A New Hope — Cleaning Robot
Think that cute little imperial squeaky robot that Chewbacca scared away on the Death Star in
Star Wars: A New Hope?
That was an MSE Repair Droid, used for secure communications, pocket-sized repairs and polishing floors. It was completely democratic with no human needed to operate.
While nosotros don’t take the aforementioned thing for repair notwithstanding, we practise have Roombas, which are picayune disc-shaped robots capable of self-navigating and vacuuming your whole floor autonomously. Unlike the MSE, they feel no emotions and thus cannot be scared away by Wookies.
2001: A Infinite Odyssey — Commercial Space Travel
2001: A Space Odyssey
was a huge quantum in hard science fiction and special effects in movies. Released in 1968, information technology just barely predated the moon landing, yet information technology believably predicted a fourth dimension when human beings will take conquered our solar system. In this globe, commercial space travel is as common equally commercial domestic flights.
Nosotros’re not quite there yet, simply we’re inching closer to commercial passenger space flights, with several companies claiming they will first flights very presently. In certainly less than a decade, this volition be a reality.
Forbidden Planet — Humanoid Robots With AI
(1954) wasn’t the first sci-fi film to predict humanoid talking robots, simply information technology was the first one that made them popular. In the movie, Robby the Robot functioned as an artificially intelligent servant. It could hold conversations and walk around on its own.
Today, Sophia is an artificially intelligent humanoid robot designed to look like a man female, right downwardly to her gestures and facial expressions. She recently held a fascinating conversation with motivational guru Tony Robbins. Saudi Arabia even granted her citizenship.
Back to the Hereafter Part II — Hoverboard
In a behind-the-scenes documentary on 1989’due south
Back to the Future Office Ii, the producers mentioned that hoverboards were already possible but never released due to condom concerns. That turned out to be a bit of a skilful-natured joke, but fans all the same hungered for ane.
After decades of enquiry, something like the technology has come up to pass. Lexus fabricated a functioning hoverboard, but with i caveat: it can only hover on a special track with embedded magnets. Hey, information technology’s a offset.
Demon Seed — The Smart Habitation
had an unusual premise for a 70s horror moving-picture show. In information technology, a scientist created an artificially intelligent reckoner, Proteus, that became obsessed with the scientist’s wife. The computer soon takes over the house, giving “smart home” a sinister new meaning.
“Intelligent” devices in the home are all the rage these days, with everything from refrigerators to thermostats to doorbells to stand-lonely gizmos getting linked to computers. Proponents tout their convenience, while critics limited concerns over privacy and security. Despite worries of “Big Brother” in one’s own dwelling, intelligent homes are gaining popularity fast.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone — Cloaking Device
Invisibility technology has appeared in everything from scientific discipline fiction works like
In the latter, Harry puts on a cloak, and everything concealed by the cloak’southward outer material becomes invisible.
In the real world, nosotros practice have special lenses that can conceal an object by bending light around it. Anyone on the other side of the lens isn’t able to encounter anything in the sweetness spot. This is still an experimental engineering, although it’due south sure to develop farther.
Tron — Teleportation of Atoms
Protagonist Flynn gets sucked into a computer world in 1982’s
after an evil AI uses atom digitizing technology that can ship atoms from i identify to another. A beam breaks downwards an object, stores it and then reconstructs it somewhere else entirely.
While a similar engineering science is depicted in
Tron‘s version is a piffling bit closer to real life. A recent Chinese experiment teleported a photon on Earth to a satellite orbiting the planet. Photons are easier to teleport than atoms, but existent teleportation of objects may soon be imminent.
Star Wars: A New Hope — Directly Free energy Weapons
Star Wars: A New Hope, the Expiry Star fired its master laser for the first time and destroyed a planet. This was an example of a straight-free energy weapon, now known past the military every bit a DEW for short.
Former president Ronald Reagan was also a proponent of edifice a organisation of satellite weapons as a defense against ballistic missiles, afterwards nicknamed Star Wars. When the Cold State of war ended, support for the plan waned. However, directly-energy weapons, such every bit high-intensity lasers, have since been developed. They’re designed by the military mostly for shooting down incoming missiles.
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home — Transparent Aluminum
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, the crew travels to San Francisco in 1986 to abduct whales to bring back to the future and salvage the globe. To practise this, they must create a tank in the cargo hold that’s calorie-free enough and strong enough to hold the whales and h2o for them.
The problem is, they need transparent aluminum to do this, and no such thing exists in 1986. Main Engineer Scotty ends up finding another engineer and helps him invent it. In nowadays times, transparent aluminum is a reality. It’s also bulletproof!
Dorsum to the Future Part II — Nikes With Power Laces
1 of the coolest time to come inventions in the globe of
Back to The Future Part Ii
was the high-peak Nike sneakers with power laces. At that place was immediate involvement amid fans for the shoe, just unfortunately, no such thing existed back in 1989.
In the motion picture, power-lace shoes premiered in 2015. When the year actually came along, Nike released the 2015 Nike Mag with Power Laces to commemorate the film. To fans’ delight, they actually work and look exactly like their sleek counterparts in the movie.
Aliens — Steady-Cam Mounted Gun
James Cameron has e’er been a pioneer. For his hit-film
Aliens, Cameron imagined a co-ed military forcefulness with country of the art gear, similar helmet-cams, move detectors and heavy artillery mounted on a stabilizing arm attached to the soldier’south torso.
In reality, Cameron took a steady-cam rig and adapted it then information technology could mount a gun. Cameron’southward rig was so inventive, that many gun enthusiasts decided to endeavor it themselves, to mixed results. Though the armed forces does experiment with stabilizing aim, it’due south not articulate if they use a similar contraption.
2001: A Space Odyssey — Videophones
Videophones have been in popular civilisation for a long time, with ane of the earliest depictions being in 1962 with
TV testify, but it was
2001: A Space Odyssey
that made them seem realistic and functional.
In truth, primitive video phones have been bachelor for decades but weren’t applied until the mid-1990s. We just didn’t have the computing ability to procedure the data. Now that everyone carries a combined video camera, telephone and supercomputer in their pockets, visual calls are every bit easy and cheap as pushing a few buttons.
The Terminator — Bi-Pedal Humanoid Armed forces Robots
Nosotros accept flight military drones already, but we’re a long way off from bi-pedal artificially intelligent robots with guns, aren’t we? Right? Well, y’all might hope so but … it’s non looking skillful.
A robotics company called Boston Dynamics has been releasing videos of humanoid robots for years. At beginning, they were able to walk and get upstairs. Now they can scroll, leap, flip,and practically do a gymnastics floor routine. Only install an AI, firm some heavy artillery on its arms and it’southward time to call Sarah Connor.
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang — Flying Cars
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
was both the name of a motion picture and of the flight car in it. At the press of a button, the steampunkish car could sprout wings and propellers and fly into the air.
A true flying car should be able to drive legally on the street and fly in the air, making it singled-out from other shipping. In that location have been several companies working on a real flying car over the years, with one of the virtually recent for sale beingness the TFX (pictured).
GoldenEye — Laser Picket
Who wouldn’t want to have a laser spotter, especially if it’s every bit absurd every bit the one in the James Bond film
Aye, the laser watch appeared in previous Bond movies, but here information technology looked its best. Such a watch is great for escaping when yous’re stuck on a runaway train.
For obvious liability reasons, no one is actually selling a light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation sentinel. Yet, a few inventor-hobbyists have posted their bootleg versions online, all with real lasers that tin really ignite stuff. Some get and then excited they forget to put the timepiece in!
2001: A Space Odyssey — Tablet Computers
Information technology’s a close competition betwixt
2001: A Space Odyssey
over which one came up with more inventions we apply today. Both featured tablet computers, simply it’s
that created a auto that looks most like the tablet computers we use today.
In the flick, they use it much like nosotros do: for practical programs besides as for total-screen video and communication. There’due south something incredibly satisfying about using current applied science that seemed so sleek withal so far off when it was outset imagined in a film.
Total Recall — Cocky-Driving Cars
imagined cocky-driving cars back in 1990, though things haven’t turned out exactly the manner the motion picture imagined. In the movie, the self-driving auto comes with a humanoid robot that operates the vehicle, presumably to brand passengers feel more than at dwelling.
In reality, self-driving cars are empty in the driver’s seat, and they’re already on the road in some markets. While it will still be a long fourth dimension before most people feel safe getting into a completely automated car, the dawn of that age is already upon the states.
Star Wars: Attack of The Clones — Digital Pic Cameras
This one is a little meta. George Lucas wanted to push button the digital photographic camera industry forward, and so he planned to shoot
The Phantom Menace
all on digital film, just the technology wasn’t quite ready yet.
Attack of the Clones, he went fully digital and pioneered new practices in digital filmmaking and encouraged other directors to spring in. This changed the whole industry. Today, shooting on real film is rare, and most everyone shoots on digital. 1 big plus: moving-picture show stock is expensive, then shooting digitally saves filmmakers thousands of dollars.
Minority Report — Personal Advertising
There’s a great scene in
where Tom Cruise walks inside a mall and holographic sensors recognize his retinas and offer him personal advertising, such as pants in his size. They are like futuristic pop-upwardly ads that know way also much most yous.
We don’t have holographic pop-up ads yet, but nosotros practise have social media and shopping apps that acquire all kinds of things about you the more than you use them. And if you shop on Amazon, it sometimes knows what you desire to buy before you do.
Star Expedition: The Picture show — The Smartwatch
There are hints of the smartwatch in old movie serials such as
and in comic strips like
Dick Tracy, merely the moving-picture show smartwatch that about resembles the one people can buy today is Captain Kirk’southward smartwatch in
Star Trek: The Motion Picture.
Rumor has information technology that Apple tree Picket designers used its aesthetic every bit inspiration for the blueprint of their watch. Admittedly, Kirk’southward wrist communicator (pictured) looks fresh off the Apple Store’s shelves. Actually, come to call back of it, his unabridged white outfit does, likewise.
Frankenstein — Genetic Engineering
Genetic engineering, even when engineering was more primitive, always had an aura of taboo effectually information technology. Books and films such as
served equally warnings not to tinker with the cardinal building blocks of the universe.
But misusing groovy knowledge is merely what some scientists seem to do. More than than 20 years agone, scientists cloned their first sheep. Nowadays, who knows what they are upward to? Many nations are attempting to enforce rules, just they seem to do little to stop forbidden experimentation, such as combining animal and homo Deoxyribonucleic acid.
The Hitchhiker’due south Guide to the Galaxy — In-Ear Translator
In the quirky movie (and book serial)
The Hitchhikers Guide to the Milky way, space tourists have a peculiar grade of linguistic communication translation technology. They carry arround a Babel Fish, an alien beast you stick in your ear. The fish crawls inside your brain and translates all languages for you. Ew.
This may have served equally the inspiration for a device currently under development chosen the Pilot. It looks like a hearing assist and translates strange language into your own in real-time so that you tin can hear and sympathize words equally they are spoken.