To celebrate the release of Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens, New Jersey Institute of Technology’s computer science program has created a video on the myriad ways that science fiction predicted the future of computer science.
- Gesture Controlled Personal Devices
The news pads from 2001: A Space Odyssey and the touch base control panels called pads from Star Trek: The Next Generation serve as inspiration for todays iPad, iPhone and numerous other smart hand-held devices. Presently, there are over one billion tablet users in the world, and this number is projected to increase by 17.1% in 2015.
- Flash Drives
Stark Trek‘s Isolinear chips served as the source of inspiration for modern USB flash drives. Although the cost and amount of storage seems insignificant today, a 128-megabyte flash drive sold for around thirty dollars circa early 2000s.
- The Internet
Back in 1974, sci-fi author Arthur C. Clarke proposed a network system similar to the internet. Clark also predicted that by 2001, his son would have access to this network, providing him with access to his bank statement and reserve tickets. Today this network is a reality, with as many as 83.8% of U.S. households owning computers and 74.4% having access to the internet.
- Wearable Tech
From the Star Trek communicator badge to Dick Tracy’s radio watch, science fiction accurately predicted the booming wearable tech industry of today. Whether it is the Apple Watch or Google Glass, 71% of U.S. consumers between 16-24 want to own wearable tech. With the pace of technological advancement, this audience is projected to take a massive expansion in the next decade.
- Self-Driving Cars
From Total Recall and the 5th Element to Minority Report and I Robot, sci-fi films have boasted their fair share of self-driving automobiles. Now in the 21st century, Google and Tesla are already well on their way testing driverless car prototype.
- Bionic Limbs
When Vader cut off Luke’s arm at the end of The Empire Strikes Back, it set the stage for science fiction’s greatest contribution to the modern world. Luke’s arm was replaced with a bionic version, similar to today’s DEKA Arm System, a prosthetic limb controlled by the user’s brain signal, capable of such delicate tasks as breaking an egg.
Once exclusively limited to the realm of science fiction, holograms are now a reality. Combining cutting edge physics and engineering, dead pop stars were resurrected as Michael Jackson and Tupac Shakur took the stage at different music festivals.