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Science Fiction Technology That Isn’t Fiction Anymore

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Science Fiction Technology That Isn’t Fiction Anymore

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People watch sci-fi movies mainly because of the cool futuristic technology in them. This article focuses on technologies that many people think are still to come, but are already a reality.

Have you ever seen Star Wars? If you have, you probably remember the clone troopers talking to holograms that come out of  a watch-like object on their wrist. This actually manifests as two different pieces of tech today, the hologram and the apple iWatch. What many people don’t know is that holograms are real and they are here. There have been demonstrations, speeches, and even concerts with them! I think that in the future everyone will have holograms in their daily lives.

As for the apple iWatch, little needs to be said. It is a well-known product produced by Apple that is a phone in the form of a watch.

In the movie Big Hero 6 the villain controls the microbots with his mind using a device on his head. We already have this technology, if not quite as advanced. Scientists made an exoskeleton for a paralyzed man and hooked him up to a device that would allow him to control it with his mind. The exoskeleton took his first step in years for him, just by the paralyzed man thinking about the motions. They even took it one step further and developed the beginnings for brain-to-brain communication. Imagine if in twenty years we could surf the Internet with our minds! It is not as far-fetched as it seems. Miguel Nicolelis and his team ran a test on an ape to see if it could control a digital ape on a screen. After some tries, it could control the digital avatar with only its mind. If you are a gamer, imagine the possibilities! (See more at www.ted.com and in the search bar type “brain-to-brain communication”.)

Brain-computer_interface_(schematic)

In lots of space shows and movies, the ship always has an AI (artificial intelligence) onboard that knows how everybody on-board feels and responds accordingly. Along with a team of researchers, Rana el Kaliouby developed software that allows a computer to recognize our emotions. The more important technology is the actual AI itself. Although we don’t have true AI yet, we are getting closer every year and have technologies very close to it. (See www.ted.com and search “Milo the Virtual Boy” to see a very close cousin to AI.)

You have probably seen one of the Iron Man movies, or at least heard of him. If you have any knowledge of him at all, you know he is a superhero because of his high-tech suit that can shoot lasers and allows him to fly. Today the military is making a lighter version of this called TALOS (Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit) for special ops. According to CNN the most unique thing about TALOS is that the armor is actually liquid and solidifies whenever something comes into contact with it. Just think about that for a second. Liquid armor! Examples of hazards it could deflect include bullets, knives, fists, and flying shrapnel. Sadly, it cannot fly. But within fifty years I would not be surprised if the TALOS suit could! It appears the suit has goggles with many projections, possibly providing night vision, thermal vision, etc., for the best situational awareness possible.

Another form of futuristic technology is the Lexus Hoverboard. In Back to the Future, the main character, Marty McFly, tries to escape from Biff and his cronies by using a hover board that floats several inches off of the ground. We have a very similar technology today developed by Lexus, which can do the same thing, but only on a special surface. Although the Lexus Hoverboard isn’t the same as the Back to the Future hover board, there are other companies trying to make hover boards that would work on any surface.

If people fifty years ago saw the technology we have now, they would think we are hundreds of years in the future. An iPhone today has more processing power than a U.S. supercomputer used during WWII. What would we see if we could look fifty years into the future? Would teleportation and other futuristic things be a reality? It helps to think about these things if you try to understand how rapidly technology has advaced in the past 100 years.

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