January 05, 2024

5 Inventions Inspired by Science Fiction

The devices and tools we use today all had a humble beginning as a thought – while some took a page out of science fiction – eventually becoming science fact.

Here are five inventions that were inspired by sci-fi:

Cell Phones

Mobile phones saw an early form in the popular late 1960s series “Star Trek” – Captain Kirk, one of the main characters, used a device called a ‘communicator’ that allowed long-distance communication.

Martin Cooper, an American engineer working at Motorola, took his inspiration from the show and developed the first cellular mobile phone in 1973, with consumer models hitting the markets in 1983 and forever changing the world.

Bionic Limbs

Losing a hand is a traumatic experience, but in 1977’s “Star Wars”, Luke Skywalker made the simple procedure of robotically replacing his missing appendage seem a mild inconvenience; with the substitute flexing its fingers just like the original.

Recently, American scientists at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, Georgia, have created a prosthetic that uses ultrasound sensors attached to muscles to give fine-movement to each digit.

Video Calls

Video calling was once something considered out of this world but films like “2001: A Space Odyssey”, “Blade Runner” and “The Jetsons” made the technology look like an everyday occurrence.

Today, video calls are as ubiquitous as mobile phones thanks to Skype and Zoom. Mobile phones have become so innovative that the average person with any camera-enabled device can see a loved one across the globe quite easily.

Digital Billboards

One considers billboards as part of the landscape and barely pays any attention to them, but in the world of the iconic film “Bladerunner”, they became vivid and animated.

Now in major cities, digital billboards are numerous and constantly show advertisements of still images or videos, selling goods and services to the populace.

Virtual Reality

Ever since William Gibson coined the term “Cyberspace” in his 1984 novel “Neuromancer”, sci-fi has often revolved around the concept of a computer-generated reality – virtual reality (VR). From “The Matrix” to “Total Recall”, the idea of a techno world of endless possibilities has appealed to sci-fi fans.

Variations of the concept now exist, such as the multitudes of online games, and Facebook’s “Meta” universe as the next step in social connectivity. VR showcases what humans can do when they aren’t limited by actual reality.

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