There was a time that novelist Jules Verne was regarded as the author to beat when it came to forecasting which seeming impossibility of his time would actually become a scientific reality decades later. His books, published in the 19th century, actually “predicted” the development of the nuclear submarine and the landing of astronauts on the moon.
As time passed by, many fictional works have joined Verne’s in their “prediction” of the future. The explosion of scientific discoveries and the acceleration of technology in the past half-century have pushed science-fiction elements from the page and the screens to common use in everyday life. Buzzfeed actually counts 31 science-fiction imaginings that became reality.
The New York Times goes a step further beyond this tantalizing list by asking real-life respected scientists to name current scientific marvels that had been foreseen by science-fiction authors. They also looked at directors, producers, and scriptwriters who have created movies and TV series that have etched themselves in popular culture.
Astronomer Heidi Hammell names the late author Ray Bradbury as one of the unofficial fathers of the internet. During Bradbury’s era, 1950’s computers were massive block structures that stored tons of data that were difficult to retrieve at any given time. However, in his book-turned-movie, “Fahrenheit 451,” Bradbury created an information-flooded world—overwhelming its citizens with images and sounds that came at them through wall-sized TV panels attached to earplugs that blocked off noise from other sources.
The same Times article interviewed theoretical physicist Jim Gates, who hails the 2015 blockbuster movie “The Martian” as the “most prescient” science-fiction film today. The film shows the conditions that can make feasible the challenge of creating a habitable environment on Mars, which is the next big adventure that space scientists are aiming for.
Buzzfeed also cited several gadgets in the 1960s pioneering sci-fi series “Star Trek” that have become fixtures of the 21st century internet-wired consumer society. The communicator preceded the flip-style cellphone. Tricorders – whether it was Dr. McCoy’s medical tool or Spock’s scientific version – provided on-the-spot information sourced from a computer. Lt. Uhura’s could even write on her version, the PADD or the Personal Access Display Device; indeed, the PADD even looks like a smaller version of the iPad.
Life in the 23rd century also anticipated a technology-driven culture that kept its citizens wired to everyone and every place at all times. Captain Kirk could access research from the starship Enterprise while he is holding a meeting on a city thousands of miles away. Lt. Uhura could send intel from the main computer to all the crew members at the flick of a switch. Connectivity was wireless, constant, and did not depend on bulky devices to keep it running.
Wireless connectivity made possible by cell phone signals is the foundation of Kirk and co.’s hard-wired world. Continuous, uninterrupted flow is the next step with the network extender manufactured and distributed by 5BARz International (OTCQB: BARZ). The black box, which is the size of a paperback, is very portable and easily tucked into a bag or suitcase. Once it is turned on, it amplifies the cell phone signals within 4,000 square feet, powering up one bar into a full five. The network extender’s ability to make digital information flow accessible, conveniently, and without disturbance to the communities that need it may very well set the stage for a truly wireless world.
As science-fiction author Aldous Huxley titled his classic, a “brave new world” of science discoveries is opening wide. As imagination compliments scientific discipline, gadgetry and technology previously thought of as flights-of-fancy are now crossing over into reality.