4. Star Trek Virtual Display Device ➪ Google Glass
The headsets allowed the evil Dominion to see outside their ships with just a turn of the head, like having a screen in your brain. Google Glass is a tiny screen just outside your direct vision that plugs you into everything you want — email, recording, and evil.
5. Star Trek Medical Tricorder ➪ Scanadu Scout
Like WebMD without the hypochondria, the tricorder could instantly diagnose almost anything. Smartphone accessory Scanadu Scout gives you vitals just as fast when you put it at your temple.
6. Star Trek Communicator ➪ Flip Phones
“Nuq Davang ramvam?” (That’s how Channing Tatum would say “What are you doing tonight?” in Klingon.*)
*Editor’s note: Our CMS doesn’t support Klingon proper, so go easy in the comments, purists.
8. Star Wars Speeder Bike ➪ Hoverbike
It’s probably not as deft as it needs to be to run away from stormtroopers yet, but this hoverbike, scheduled to go on sale in 2017, means you’d at least be able to leave them in the dust.
9. Minority Report Heads-Up Displays ➪ Air Touch Technology
Loosely based on Philip K. Dick’s 1958 sci-fi short story “The Minority Report,” the movie’s depiction of touch-screen technology is slowly being made into a reality.
A new heads-up technology prototype generates a private air-touch display that doesn’t need voice activation or a physical keyboard or screen for input. The Taiwan-based company anticipates the goggles will soon be smaller, sleeker, and about the size of a pair of sunglasses.
10. Minority Report Targeted Advertising ➪ Face-Scanning Marketing Technology
13. From the Earth to the Moon Splashdown Capsules ➪ Lunar Module
Author Jules Verne wrote about a “projectile” that carried humans to the moon in his 1865 book. The first crew capsule, which contained Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, was humanity’s first landing on another celestial body.
15. In The Year 2889 Atmospheric Advertising ➪ Skywriting
In 1889 Verne also wrote: “Everyone has noticed those enormous advertisements reflected from the clouds, so large they may be seen by the populations of whole cities or even entire countries.” Luckily corporations haven’t bought the atmosphere (yet).
16. The War of the Worlds Heat-Ray ➪ Active Denial System
Author H.G. Wells’ Martian heat-ray was deadly, but the military’s is non-lethal — and primarily designed to make you feel really unpleasant. It uses microwave blasts in an attempt to disperse unruly crowds, and as you can see, no one can withstand being a human Hot Pocket.
17. Iron Man Armor ➪ Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit (TALOS)
The U.S. Military’s new battle suit TALOS is Iron Man-like in its ability to ward off bullets and internal antennas and computers designed to give better situation awareness, just without the pleasure of Tony Stark’s British companion, J.A.R.V.I.S.
The one pitfall: It doesn’t fly. The prototype is expected this month (Robert Downey Jr., sold separately).
18. The Jetsons Robot Maid ➪ Mahru-Z
Korean scientists’ robot Mahru-Z putters at about the speed of a grandparent riding rollerblades made of snails, but it can bring you toast, do your laundry, and heat food up in the microwave — childcare optional, depending on your parenting style.
23. The Jetsons Dog Treadmill ➪ DogTread
You’re less likely to get exercise or fall into the abyss of space, but yep, tiny pup treadmills exist. (“DogMill” must have not had the same ring of success to it.)
24. 2001: A Space Odyssey Phone Booth ➪ Video Calls
Seeing loved ones at the graze of a screen is a marvel, but it seemed like a distant future when Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke imagined it in 1968. At least now you don’t have to sit in a booth and have the number memorized like some sort of barbarian.
25. 2001: A Space Odyssey Mission Robot ➪ NASA Canadarm
26. Demolition Man Sexytimes ➪ Oculus Rift Porn
Like braces headgear, but hotter! If you thought you could have interactive virtual reality without the adult industry poking its head in, you’ve got another thought coming.
27. Back to the Future Power Laces ➪ Self-Tying Laces
They’re coming in 2015, according to Nike. The MAGs had a short run of 1,500 pairs in 2011 but with normal boring laces.
28. “Visit to the World’s Fair of 2014” Cordless Appliances ➪ Wireless Things
Scientist Isaac Asimov — the man behind I, Robot, Bicentennial Man, and hundreds of other works — also published an essay imagining 2014 in the New York Times in 1964, predicting that appliances won’t have electric cords “for they will be powered by long-lived batteries running on radioisotopes.”
We’re not as reliant on nuclear power as, say, Springfield, but he got the wireless part right — and video calling, gadgets, electroluminescence…OK basically every word he wrote.
- International corporations that want to intimidate countries have access to a private legal system designed just for them. And to unlock its power, sometimes all it takes is a threat.
- Apple has to repay up to €13 billion ($14.5 billion) in illegal tax benefits to Ireland, the European Commission has ruled.
- Some of Europe's most vulnerable children are seeking refuge in the UK only to disappear from care and possibly fall into the clutches of people-traffickers.