July 16, 2010

Roads? Where we’re going we don’t need roads…

Following the recent online hoax about the Back to the Future movies and being a fan of the trilogy myself, I thought it would be worth having a look at what was happening in the year that Doc, Marty, Jennifer & then Biff travelled forward to in order to see what is looking realistic and what will most likely never catch on. The real year they travel to in the film is 2015 by the way.

Bearing in mind that this film was released in 1989; it is surprising the amount of ‘future technologies’ that have actually come to fruition in some way, shape or form:

In the movie, a 3D Jaws hologram comes out of the cinema front and comes down to the pavement. Although it is not new technology, domestic 3D technology is really taking off now. With Sky launching their 3D setup and with players and compatible TVs becoming more available to the consumer, this is certainly one that is making good progress. Another 5 years to make it work as a hologram without glasses? Maybe!

Voice activation played a part in the movie, we see this now already with in-car voice commands and plenty of additions for computers to train themselves then understand your voice. That said, it always seems that my car never seems to understand me (but it does drink too much). In one scene, a video call is taking place. In the late 80’s, this must have seemed so futuristic and far-fetched but now there are numerous ways to host a video conference via the internet including directly from your mobile phone.

Flying cars and the ability to run the ‘flux capacitor’ on household waste with a “Mr Fusion” conversion might be a

further away from 2015 but the recent advances in automotive production have shown a real willing from the auto manufacturers to do the right thing by the planet. There are now technological advances that can get your car to call the authorities if you are in a crash and I expect speed control via GPS won’t be too far off either. The ironic part being that the less we are in control; probably the more likely we are to reduce accidents and congestion.

Apparently someone has created self-lacing shoes that featured in the film. Maybe self balancing high-heels would be a better proposition for some of the girls in our office! In any case, Zemeckis certainly had some amazing foresight and made a fantastic film out of a fairly simple concept. As for the hoverboard, I just can’t bring myself to dream, albeit that I am now a little past my skating days…

Post a reply with any ideas that you would like to see in future technology or to remind me of any gadgets that I might have missed here (the food hydrator I left out as my cooking is bad regardless).

Scott Collins
Europe

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