If wearable computers, touch-free interfaces and driverless cars seem the stuff of science fiction, that’s because they were. We look at nine tech innovations first seen on the silver screen.
The character Ash turns out to be an android, which brings to mind Boston Dynamics’ Atlas, a humanoid robot who refuses to be knocked over, even when hit from the side. The likes of Atlas could one day be used in combat situations. Or possibly to man space missions and deal with alien life forms. In space, no one can hear you fall over…
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
The sentient ship’s computer HAL 9000 might have had a breakdown, but thankfully its real-world equivalents work just fine. Touch wood. Its closest descendent today is Apple’s all-hearing, all-talking personal helper Siri. Stanley Kubrick’s film also features a videophone sequence that, 45 years on, looks uncannily like Skype.
Minority Report (2002)
When Minority Report was released 11 years ago, the touch-free ‘spatial operating environment’ interface looked like something out of science fiction. Now here we are, 11 years later, and the Xbox One has it as standard in the form of the Kinect motion controls. Very prescient.
Star Trek (1992)
Obviously the films and TV series were packed with technology, but here’s one you might have missed - an iPad-style tablet used by Captain Picard. It’s even called PADD, which admittedly sounds very close to ‘iPad’. Maybe Steve Jobs was a secret Trekkie.
Back to the Future 2 (1989)
The second instalment in the time-travelling trilogy had plenty of futuristic gizmos like hoverboards, Nike trainers with power laces and self-drying jackets. But JVC’s Personal Video Glasses – as worn by Marty Junior – look a lot like Google Glass. They let you watch and pause TV, and are even voice-activated. OK Glass, let’s watch Back to the Future II.
Blade Runner (1982)
After many failed attempts, Blade Runner’s flying cars are finally becoming reality. Terrafugia showed off its Transition car/plane hybrid this year, and a mysterious flying car prototype was recently spotted at Google’s Mountain View HQ. Could this be an end to traffic jams as we know them?
Total Recall (1990)
In this sci-fi flick, Arnie jumps in a taxi known as a Johnny Cab, only to find it has a robot driver. Well get yourself to Milton Keynes in a year or two, and you might find the same. The city will trial driverless cabs from 2015, in order to ease parking and traffic congestion. OK, it’s not quite Mars, but it’s not far off.
Dick Tracy (1990)
The private eye famously spoke into a watch that doubled as a phone in this classic comic strip that was turned into a film. LG launched the GD 910 Watchphone back in 2008, and just this year, Samsung unveiled the Galaxy Gear smart watch. Spot on.
Die Another Day (2002)
Out of all the gadgets Bond has used over the years, an invisible car is one of the most ludicrous. Or is it? Last year, Mercedes-Benz made a car effectively see-through using a mat of LEDs that displayed what a digital SLR was seeing on the other side of the vehicle. Might be tricky to find in the car park though…