Rhonda Byrne’s The Secret discusses about the law of attraction. One might use it to only attract more money and opportunities, without considering the power of thoughts. Instead, one could channel their inner Green Lantern and create things from their thoughts.
And some people did just that. Armed with a pen and a vivid imagination, they created whole new worlds with gadgets whose existence just seemed impossible. While we soaked in the literature and dismissed it as fanciful imaginings, we failed to see it for what the writings truly were: predictions of the future.
We live in the most technologically advanced times and what once was fiction is now a reality. The advanced phones we hold in our hands is only the tip of the iceberg; as is the internet. All you need to do is call Spectrum internet customer services and the world is at your fingertips. It is important to note that the internet too first appeared in work of fiction.
So without further ado, here are 5 exotic gadgets from fiction that made it to reality.
3D printers made their debut in Ray Bradbury’s novel Fahrenheit 451 where it is used to print tools, weapons and whatever else is needed in the fight against burning books.
They also made an appearance in Hobbyist, a short story by Eric Frank Russell. He describes it thus, “It was complicated and bizarre and it was making a crystalline growth. Near it, another and different machine was manufacturing a small, horned lizard. There could be no doubt at all about the process of fabrication because both objects were half made and both progressed slightly even as he watched. In a couple of hours’ time, perhaps less, they’d be finished…”
Written in 1947, one can argue that Hobbyist was the first novel to refer to 3D printing, but the description detailing manufacturing of lizards, a live animal, goes beyond 3D printing we have today. Or maybe we just haven’t gotten there yet.
3D printing is now mainstream with people printing out mini-versions of themselves. It is also being used to print tools. NASA has even sent files to the International Space Station of components so that they may print them out and use them to fix machines, etc.
Sure, we were expecting smartphones would become a reality, but smart watches is something we never saw coming.
Smart watches first hit the scene in Dick Tracy comic strips in 1940’s. The detective would speak into the watch and send information to the base. Since then, it has appeared in many big franchises like James Bond, Inspector Gadget and Men in Black.
Today, for most people smart watches is more a gimmick than anything else and while it remained so for some time, now it’s getting more advanced and popular than ever before. The Apple watch lets you answer calls, message, browse the internet and more.
However, we’ve observed that smart watches are used less for communication, and are rather known in health circles for the insight they give. They let you track your footsteps, sleep cycle, measure heartbeat and BP, among other things.
We all want the friendship that Tony Stark shares with Jarvis. But, we forget how long it took for this concept to mature.
In 2001: A Space Odyssey we see HAL 9000, a sentient AI, controlling a space craft. The ship’s astronaut crew, realizing that the AI makes decision that are not in their best interest, shuts it down. This AI is as computerized as you can imagine. Cracking jokes is not in its programming. Jarvis however, is different.
When it comes to the real world, we now have multiple AI’s going around to help us in our daily tasks. Siri, Alexa and Google Assistant have come a long way. While they are not as human like as we’d like, you might get some witty replies for sure to make your day.
No futuristic movie is complete without holograms. It made for an iconic scene in Star Wars: A New Hope when Princess Leia’s image projected out of R2-D2. You even see it in Batman (1989 film), where it’s used to disguise entry to the batcave.
There are multiple productions where hologram have appeared including the much love ‘Back to the Future’ series along with Total Recall, Minority Report and Resident Evil. Since then, we’ve all wanted in our heart of hearts that it become a reality. While teleporting may still escape our grasp, appearing at a different place in a matter of seconds does not.
At the Billboard Music Awards 2014, our wish came true when the holograph of Michael Jackson graced the stage. With his music playing in the background, it seemed as if the star was very much alive and present among us.
The one technology that really takes the cake is VR. We saw various versions of it in Total Recall, Surrogates, Lawnmower Man, Hackers, Johnny Mnemonic and of course The Matrix. Where in some movies we saw our favorite characters strapped to a chair with their entire bodies connected to the VR, in others we saw headsets you put over your eyes. These have come to pass and Oculus Rift allows you to enter a virtual world and play games.
What does the future hold?
When it comes to the future, we can all agree at this point that everything imaginable can exist. While technology has helped speed up work and improved our lives for the better, there is no denying that it has its downsides. Living in a world run by machines and AI, where we are their slaves is not something any of us want.
Given that the technological wonders we imagined became a reality, it is yet to be seen if the fictional worlds imagined would become one too. These formidable technologies is a step closer to the world of Black Mirror, and we should tread on it carefully.