The “Futuristic” Sci-Fi Inventions That Inspired Modern Technology

I like star trek. Or more precisely, I really I love the 80s, 90s and 00s hiking. Nothing is more soothing to me than the low hum of the Enterprise D, with Data and Geordi La Forge discussing the alignment of dilithium crystals in their coveted warp core.

While most star trek‘technobabble’ is complex nonsense, it’s no secret that science fiction has had a huge influence on the development of real-world technology. And while I have yet to use a tractor beam to pull a comet off course to the Klingon Qo’noS homeworld, I to have used a tablet to play fruit ninja.

So without further ado (thanks YouTube), here are some sci-fi technologies that have become reality.

3D printers – star trek

The most practical sci-fi technology ever created: replicators. They’re basically hyper-advanced 3D printers that can instantly create anything from an Earl Gray mug to alien fusion guns. Although current 3D printers are not quite there yet, star trekReplicators have been the inspiration and aspiration for many of these devices – some of them coming eerily close.

Mobile phones – star trek Dick Tracy

For years, Martin Cooper the inventor of the cell phone quoted the original star trek communicator as the inspiration for the famous “brick phone” he designed at Motorola. But it was all a lie. Last year, in his memoir, Cooper revealed that it was actually the two-way wrist radio from the 1930s cartoon. Dick Tracy which prompted him to invent the mobile phone. *gasp!*

Hoverboards – Back to the future

In 2014, Arx Pax unveiled its Hendo Hoverboard, which is currently still under development. While even Tony Hawk struggles to look cool on this thing, we’re still thrilled to see the first person do a 360 kickflip on one.

Hovercraft Bikes – star wars

Current versions of the hoverbike won’t get you through the Forest of Endor as quickly as those in Return of the Jedi. Still, there were real live demonstrations. More recently, the Japanese startup ALI Technologies presented its Xturismo in front of a crowd. And that did the trick!

Tractor beams – star trek

Tractor beams have been a sci-fi staple for years, but real-life versions tend to run on a slightly on a smaller scale. The researchers tried different techniques, using sound waves and light to pull and push objects in the form of small nanoparticles. Currently, NASA and Arx Pax (the folks at Hoverboard) are working on a magnetism-powered tractor beam. Awesome.

Tablets – star trek

The PADD, Star Trek’s version of the tablet computer, was so clearly Apple’s inspiration for the iPad, that when he revealed it in 2010, Steve Jobs showed a Star Trek movie on the device. .

PADD Star Trek

Invisibility Cloaks – Predator

There are many different versions of invisibility technology in science fiction, but one of the iconic first was used by the monster that had the unenviable task of battling Arnold Schwarzenegger in 1987: the Predator. Given its violent origins, it’s no surprise that the website of one of the leading companies developing technology today Hyperstealth looks like this.

MP3- star trek

Although it doesn’t seem particularly futuristic today, the MP3 format was invented by Karlheinz Brandenburg, who quoted this brilliant scene from Star Trek: The Next Generation as his inspiration for a digital audio format. Thank you, Mr. Data.

What’s your favorite sci-fi tech? Let us know on Twitter.

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