If you could only pick one piece of iconic futuristic technology from TV and Movies to have in real life, what would it be? Would you pick the Lightsaber from Star Wars or the Transporter from Star Trek or would you go for something a little more nuanced like the neutralizer from Men in Black?
Well, as technology these days is developing at a staggering rate it turns out you might not have to choose. We’re well on the way to developing some of the world’s favorite fictional gadgets. Let us have a look then at some of the…
Best Gadgets from Film and TV in Real Life
1. Hover Board (Back to the Future 2)
The Biff bashing Hover Board from Back to the Future 2 captured the world’s imagination on an epic scale. We all waited patiently for 2015 to come around and then huffed and puffed when all we got where those 2 wheel wastes of time that you see full grown idiots or spoilt obese kids riding round on. Tut tut. Fortunately, however, 2 companies have been working on proper hoverboards and their progress is extremely promising.
The Arx Pax, developed by Hendo Hover, harnesses electromagnetic energy to enable it to float smoothly above the ground. The bad news is that it only works on a specialized surface that helps to provide the lift and the hoverboard concept is only a proof of concept. This didn’t stop Tony Hawk getting in on the action and putting the Arx Pax through its paces.
The other company who’ve made inroads into hoverboard technology is luxury car make Lexus. Again, however, the Lexus hoverboard needed a special surface to help provide it with lift and was never released to consumers. It also required liquid nitrogen to keep it cool whilst in use Close but no cigar I’m afraid.
2. The Neuralizer (MIB)
How handy would it be to wipe somebody’s short term memory. Whether you’re sustaining a global conspiracy to suppress the fact that aliens live among us or simply want your teacher to forget about that homework they gave you The Neuralizer from Men In Black would be a nifty gadget to have indeed.
We’re going to swerve the ethical and legal implications of wiping somebody’s memory by concentrating on the fact that the current technology only works on genetically modified mice. Scientists at UC Davis discovered that if they used a fiber optic cable to beam light into the brains of GM mice they were able to delete specific memories.
What’s more, scientists at University of California at San Diego discovered that they were able to implant, remove and then re-implant specific memories. This is all incredible news but knowing that this type of stuff is possible makes me very scared about every time I’ve ever had or will ever have déjà vu.
3. The Transporter (Star Trek)
If you thought somebody playing with your memories being the underlying cause of deja vu is dark wait until you hear about modern day transporters. Of course, Star Trek is set in a utopian future that sees a world united in its mission to discover all the secrets of the universe but the real world isn’t quite like that is it.
In the real world transporters don’t allow you to magically hop from one place to another. In the real world they employ a method known as destructive scanning. They destroy whatever is being “transported” bit by bit so that they can get a complete scan of the object. Those scan schematics are then sent to the new location where they’re 3D printed. All you’re getting is a copy. Still want to get transported?
4. The Replicator (Star Trek)
I think we need to lighten things up a little so how about we look at a machine that magically makes food appear. Let’s have a look at the Replicator from Star Trek. Now it might be hard to imagine that we’re actually working on something that makes any meal materialize but this age that we live in really is full of wonders. Or is it?
Well, first off we need to fall back on to 3D printing. The closest thing NASA are working on is 3D printed food implements and food growing aids, which will hopefully help astronauts when they’re landing in around 30 years time. They won’t be replicating the food, just the tools that’ll help them grow and cook it.
Oh but we’re not done yet because a little food startup of only 10 people has marketed a device called “The Genie” which they claim can make a meal in only a minute. With claims of Chicken Curry, Miso Ramen soup and even oozing chocolate fondants on the menu, it seems like the future is now.
The catch is that it appears to be no more than a posh Cup Noodle machine that makes everything out of freeze-dried foodstuffs. These are sold in simple pods that you need to install into Genie before you can chow down. Pfffft.
6. The Holodeck (Star Trek)
Now it is time for something that is a little more mind blowing. Star Trek’s Holodeck allows users to create immersive photo realistic worlds for them to then spend their leisure time in. Believe it or not, with the help of decent sized backpack and a headset we’re pretty close to having that right now.
VR Theme Parks have begun cropping up around the world. There are various types but the versions that have been created by Nomadic VR and Anvio VR are the VR Theme Parks that most resemble Star Trek’s Holodeck. Anvio have basically produced a 200 square meter holodeck so that you and your friends can go and let loose blowing away hordes of the undead. Mind Blowing.
7. The Computer (Star Trek)
OK so we’re getting stuck on Star Trek gadgets here but with a grand total of 14 movies and a whopping 726 episodes is it any wonder that most of the gadgets we’re featuring are coming from where no man has gone before?
The Computer in Star Trek of course isn’t limited to just Star Trek, computers run across most, if not all, Sci-Fi franchises. What we’re talking about here is the voice activated AI computer that characters used to freely interact with. Today’s versions like Alexa, Google Home and even Siri on your iPhone are the most completely realized gadgets in the series.
They can even cheer you up if you’re having a rough day and we’ve come so far that amateurs are even mocking up their own fully holographic versions.
8. Lightsaber (Star Wars)
Is the Lightsaber the most iconic fictional gadget of all time? If you think so then I’m afraid I’ve got some bad news for you. We’re nowhere near developing anything like it. All we have so far are ridiculously dangerous flame throwers that aren’t good for much more than lighting cigarettes and burning yourself.
Worse news comes if we speak to Particle Physicists about the realms of possibility. Don Lincoln, writing for Scientific American, tells us that in order to burn through steel like they do in the movies Lightsabers would require a battery big enough to power 14,000 households. They’d also burn your own hand right off and would pass right through each other, which means epic Lightsaber battles would not be possible.
What are your favorite gadgets from film an TV? If we’ve missed out one that you’d like to see featured let us know in the comments. If we get enough we’ll run another feature covering all of the gadgets posted.