Your favourite sci-fi stuff that came true

I’ve always been a big sci-fi movie and TV show fan. I loved the gadgets the most. Many of these things came to be years later.

So far, my personal favourites are the Star Trek stuff.

  1. Entire books stored on a little plastic card was pretty high tech sounding back in the 60’s. Now, I can put volumes of data on a 128mb memory card and read from my PDA.

  2. My Startac phone (which by todays standards is outdated) looks pretty much like a Star Trek communicator. With the right connections I could use it to talk with the people on the shuttle.

  3. Tricorders were mostly handheld computers. A GPS type unit with a massive database and envoroment sensors all in one. Short of the sensors, a PDA with internet access is pretty damn close to a tricorder.

The last one,.

I was watching Logans Run the other night and noticed something. The main Sandman computer monitor looked very much like the new 50" Plasma screens they are making now.

What other neat sci-fi gadgets have some to see the life?

Flying cars! Why I remember when…
Aww F***!!!


After driving on the highway everyday, flying cars is one thing I hope NEVER happens.

I don’t like the idea of those people flying over my home.

A bit dated, but… submarines. Cool. Captain Nemo rules.

I always wanted to see a hand-held thing that you could see movies on. Just a small little thing, like the size of a book, but you could watch stuff on it. I think that the portable DVD players (and hell, most laptops) fulfill that fantasy.

The whole idea of computers are a sci-fi fantasy come true. I can’t even begin to express how thrilled I am by computers. They are so incredible—to be able to store so much information on small flat little disks and stuff. Who would have thought? (Well, “Star Trek” thought…).

<somewhat related hijack> I remember umpteen years ago (before Photoshop came into the scene) I was attending art school, and one of the students asked the teacher what would become of all of us (we were learning traditional illustration techniques) when computers took over everything. The teacher simply said, “Yes, computers will take over a lot of this graphic art and illustration work. But the people behind the computers will be artists.” This seemed to satisfy everyone, but in the back of my mind, I thought, “Well, I’ll be screwed, then. I’ll never learn all that computer stuff.”

Who knew? Who knew what the future would bring? Certainly not silly old me! I could not have been more wrong about myself. Oh my word. I love working on my art digitally. But you know, having that traditional art background really was a good thing. I think it’s made it easier for me to make the transition to digital. It would take too long to explain, but I’m not the first artist to feel that way. </ end of hijack>

The Internet. The idea of a home computer terminal to access a universal database/network system is old, but it only came true in the past decade or so.

A much less significant but pretty neat one is the radio synchronized watch. I remember an old sci-fi short story where someone is wearing a very bulky wristwatch and explains that it automatically sets the time by receiving a radio signal. It was a strange feeling to finally see one in stores a few years ago. Now they look just like regular wristwatches and cost about $50. (They are available in the US too, right?)

They’re available in Sweden, and have been for about ten years.

the digital camera is excellent. I was getting pretty tired of scanning pictures :slight_smile: the beauty of it is i can still get prints, but now i only have to get the good ones printed.

btw… i would like a flying car that drives me to work. hell, i would be happy with a car that simply drove me where i asked it to.

Personal computers and the Internet are definitely the most startling and wonderful bit of tech to come along in my lifetime.

And although it doesn’t affect me personally, cloning from non-reproductive body cells, as I believe was the case with Dolly the sheep, was a startling move into the future. I expect Internet-class advanced from biotech in the next few years.

It would be nice if we could develop some viable form of space travel, though.

I’m always amazed at stuff in Heinlein’s books. I remember in one book (I think it was the Door Into Summer) a character uses a debit card.

Flatscreens. I heard a story once that the people who made the movie 2010 decided to drop the flatscreens that had appeared in 2001 because they were just too far-out. And lo, the only technology from the first movie that was really ready for 2001 was - flatscreens!

I doubt it’s true, but I hated 2010 (the movie, at least - the book was okay) so I love the story anyway. So I’m being childish.

Anyway, I love that flatscreens have made laptop computers possible. I love my flatscreen monitor, which allows me to close up my computer in a little cabinet in the corner of the living room so it can’t be seen when I want the room to look nice. I love that flatscreen TVs exist, and can’t wait for them to come down in price enough that we can afford to have one hanging on our wall. I just hope that by then they come with a program that lets you have a simulated “aquarium” on the screen when it’s switched off :smiley:

I too was thinking about digital cameras but I couldn’t think of a sci-fi story which predicted it. Does anyone? I recall Clarke severely underestimating photographic technology. In one of his early stories, the first manned Mars mission carried with them the latest innovation in photographic technology: color film!

One that shocked me was high-temperature superconductors. I was at the American Physical Society meeting in New York City circa 1985 where they announced this. It was the wo\ildest scientific meeting I’d ever been to – the last-minute session was the hugest I’d ever attended, filling an entire Ballroom and overflowing iout into other rooms and hallways, where people watched the proceedings on television. The description of the pre-cured ceramic superconductors sounded eerily like the belts of superconducting material described by Larry Niven in The Ringworld Engineers, which I’d just read.

The Internet, as noted above. Murray Leinster described it with impressive accuracy in his 1940s short story “A Logic Named Joe”, and I’ve come across it in novels like Clifford D. Simak’s City. I very recently learned from an essay by Martin Gardner that H.G. Wells had preceded everyone in describing an Internet system.

In “The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress”, Robert Heinlein pretty much described the exact process of real-time computer graphics animation. Not too far from what a good PlayStation game does today.

Space travel and exploration.

Heck Home Computers were science fiction 20 years ago.

Love my communicator … er cell-phone

Bond James Bond made Seadoo a reality

Matrix and the the new Brain chip implants

Still waiting on 6 meter tall Mechs walking on 2 legs.

OH!!! and I forgot about this guy …and his dog AIBO

My all-time favorite is in Foundation, by Isaac Asimov. Some scientist is gleefully praising the power of nuclear energy, and explains that due to its phenomenal efficiency every housewife can have her very own laundry facility that fits in a closet!

Go Asimov, you prophet you!


If I can get a movie compressed to fit onto a memory stick, I could view it on my PDA.

I have a couple of short clips on my PDA right now. :slight_smile:

This is after the fact, but one of the neat things about Always Coming Home is Le Guin’s “Exchange”. It anticipates the internet and e-mail. She makes it sound like self-running computers. Like many of her technological innovations, such as the “network”, she says what it does without defining what it is. I didn’t read the book till long after the internet, but it was written in the 1980’s . I missed getting to read that when the Exchange was ‘new’!