Back to the Future II technology that actually exists today
By Atmel Staff as written on Atmel.com
Great Scott! These tech predictions from 1985 actually came true!
On October 26th, 1985 at 1:20am, Dr. Emmett “Doc” Brown and his sidekick Marty McFly hopped into a time-traveling DeLorean DMC-12 (powered by a flux capacitor and Mr. Fusion generator to produce the required 1.21 jigawatts of electricity) and arrived in their hometown of Hill Valley on October 21st, 2015. It was an era full of embedded gadgetry, from home appliances to cars to even clothing. Sound familiar?
While it may have only been a 30-year gap, at the time, 2015 seemed like an entire lifetime away. Throughout the last three decades, the world has experienced plenty of advancements in technology, some of which would even put Back to the Future’s foresight to shame. But in other ways, the movie’s creators made some astonishingly correct predictions about the state of modern electronics — with pretty darn good accuracy, too! When it comes to making, innovating and engineering, who’s better than good ol’ Doc Brown?
Safe to say, today’s world is certainly reminiscent of 2015’s Hill Valley. Here’s how…
What was surely one of, if not, the most iconic pieces of equipment to arise from the movie, we’ve always wondered as to whether the hoverboard would actually to fruition. And it looks like you may be able to hop on one relatively soon. While it may not be a Mattel or Pit Bull, Lexus has unveiled a real, ridable prototype. Additionally, Los Gatos, Caifornia-based Arx Pax has also been developing one of their own, which recently launched a Kickstarter campaign that garnered over $510,000. Unfortunately, they both rely on magnets so it’s unlikely you’ll be able to fly over water like Marty. And who could forget Canadian Maker Catalin Alexandru Duru who broke the world record for the longest hoverboard flight back in May? The inventor designed and built an actual machine that could lift off the ground a fairly decent distance, using propellers much like a drone.
In the flick, Marty and his sister spend their time at the dinner table behind a pair of digital glasses, watching TV and answering the phone through their shades. Nowadays, Google Glass more or less allows people to do all the same things, without the clunkiness. Then there’s the advent of VR headsets such as Oculus Rift and head-mounted graphical displays like Microsoft’s Hololens, which happens to have an uncanny resemblance to McFly’s.
Voice-controlled interfaces are now ubiquitous in mobile devices, computers and even several appliances. Heck, just ask Siri. Or Amazon Echo. Or several other alternatives including Homey and Mycroft that are undoubtedly ushering in a new wave of services that’ll listen to you and talk to each of the gizmos throughout your home.
When Marty Sr. is fired by his boss, the ousting occurs via a two-way video call. Not only are these calls commonplace these days on all sorts of devices thanks to apps like Skype, FaceTime and Google Hangout, but some newer smart TVs are even equipped built-in cameras. In fact, this medium has evolved from a mere business tool to an essential facet of everyday life.
“Alright! Self-tying laces!” Though Nike announced that it was actually going to manufacture auto-lacing high-tops in 2015, several do-it-yourselfers have already taken a stab at creating futuristic footwear. (You’ll want to check out Maker Hunter Scott’s latest project.)
“You mean you have to use your hands? That’s like a baby’s toy!” Kids at Cafe 80s mock Marty for having to use his hands to play an arcade game, implying that Xbox Kinect-style gaming is the norm. And guess what? Today it is!
As the movie revealed, those of the future are able to sign petitions (to save the clock tower) by pressing a finger on what looks an awful lot like an iPad or Kindle. Surely enough, over 233 million tablets are expected to be sold in 2015 — an 8% rise from 2014.
[Images: Back to the Future Wiki; Universal Pictures]
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