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31 Science-Fiction Things That Actually Exist Now

It's all happening!

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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.


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.


12. Fahrenheit 451 Seashell Radio ➪ In-Ear Headphones

Guy Montaug's wife retreats into her own world with Seashells — thimble radios in her ears, "an electronic ocean of sound, of music and talk and music and talk coming in." Sounds familiar.

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.

14. Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea Electric Submarine ➪ Diesel-Electric Submarines

A century before the Beatles resided on a yellow submarine, Verne's Captain Nemo traveled on the Nautilus, an electricity-powered vehicle with a dining room, organ, paintings, and other luxuries.


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).

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).


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

Stanley Kubrick's space helper wasn't that far off from the future: Canadarm, a robotic arm (from guess where!) that helps move equipment and astronauts, made its space debut in 1981 and assisted with missions for 30 years before it was retired, giving Canadarm2 the spotlight.


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.

29. "Visit to the World's Fair 2014" Kitchen Gadgets ➪ Instant Coffee Makers

Asimov also predicted gadgets will relieve us of tedious work: "Kitchen units will be devised that will prepare 'automeals,' heating water and converting it to coffee."

30. "Visit to the World's Fair 2014" Mars Exploration ➪ Curiosity Rover

And landing on Mars! Asimov wrote that by now, we'd have unmanned ships there (check) and a manned expedition in the works (check).