When it comes to developing modern technology, we always seem to be chasing our own imaginations. We can create more and more exciting pieces of tech, but the realms of science-fiction always keep us striving to create more. Put simply, us humans have imagined some pretty incredible futuristic gizmos, and only now is reality slowly starting to catch up.
Last week, we reported that NASA has developing a real, honest-to-God, warp engine, while today we've got more sci-fi inspired technology on the way. OK, so this new announcement doesn't exactly bend space and time, but it could have a more widespread day-to-day utility. The California-based technology firm, Ostendo Technologies Inc. has developed a tiny projector that can fit onto mobile phones, TVs, tablets and even smart watches.
I know, what you're thinking - "projectors, big whoop." Sure, your cousin has probably got one attached to his Xbox, but not like this one. The Ostendo projector utilizes a Quantum Photonic Imager which can create 3D holograms without the need for 3D glasses. By using a single chipset the size of a Tic Tac, the projector can shoot 3D images into the air using light-generating diodes. The Ostendo CEO claims he envisions a day when these devices are used to record and send 3D data packets. Basically, it's a Star Wars holographic communicator.
So far we haven't seen the projector display anything that matches Princess Leia's impassioned plea to Obi Wan Kenobi, but it has shown off a hologram of a 3D rotating dice. However, Ostendo aren't the only guys who've been inspired by Star Wars as Microsoft, Advanced Micro Devices Inc. and Hewlett Packard are all creating similar technology. Indeed, HP even named theirs Project Leia.
Luckily, Ostendo has some big support behind it. Peter Thiel, the CEO of Paypal, has invested in the company, while so too has the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) - the military's primary technology research and development body. No doubt they are interested in finding a military use for this kind of technology.
However, all this has got us thinking about other sci-fi technologies we'd like to see in the not-too-distant future. In last week's article, we looked at five science-fiction devices that were slowly becoming science-fact, but today let's look at some of the more outlandish science-fiction creations.
Science-fiction can basically be split into two sub-genres: That which does feature flying cars (which is most of it), and what which does not. Flying or hover cars have always been a staple of any sci-fi world - whether it's Blade Runner, Brave New World or Star Wars - and personally, I can't wait for them to exist in reality. When I was younger and thinking about what life would be like when I was in my mid-twenties, I always imagined cruising around in a hover car - incidentally, I was also more attractive and successful in my imagination. Unfortunately, as a species we've made precious little progress towards this worthy goal. Sure, some crackpot inventors have slapped a propeller on a Skoda but that's not the same. I want something like this:
It would certainly help with congestion problems, although to be honest, the slightly embarrassing error of stalling at a traffic light is probably much more serious when made 300 feet in the air.
However, those high-attitude flying automobile crashes wouldn't be so bad if scientists also got together to deliver another science fiction staple - the instant healing machine!
These marvelous, miracle making medical machines can be seen curing ailments in many science-fiction films and games, including Elysium, Star Trek, Deus Ex and Half-Life. Instead of having to go through the tedious and bloody process of hacking a human body open and messing around with its innards, we could simply head down to the Medi-Bay, strap ourselves in and get our bullet-riddled organs fixed, all while enjoying a nice trashy celebrity magazine. Get to work scientists!
OK, so you've just been flying around town in your hover car, you quickly dashed into the clinic to get that broken leg seen to and now you're finally back home. You're tired, hungry and let's face it, incompetent at cooking. But do not fear! You live in the future and now you've got Insta-Food!
Instantly provided food is another oft-seen comfort in science-fiction worlds. Whether it's the Star Trek replicators or The Fifth Element's instant microwavable roast dinner, the future allows you to be even lazier by providing hot meals whenever we want, and at a moments notice. Sure, the large amounts of radiation will probably give you cancer, but those new Healing Machines will see to that problem!
So there you go. Three more currently undeveloped sci-fi technologies we need to see in the future.
Which one are you most looking forward to?
Which sci-fi tech do you want to see as a reality?