Great New Gadgets Inspired by Science Fiction Movies

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Gadgets and technologies of 2015 were part of these movies from as far back as 50 years ago.

Many of the robots and machines we now have were part of stories dating back to 250 BC. Aristotle himself in the work Politics (circa 322 BC) speculated that someday automation might perhaps lead to the abolition of slavery. In China, Su Song’s building-sized Cosmic Engine attempted to duplicate and predict the motions of heavenly bodies. Long have we wished for wondrous inventions to ease our burdens and change the way we interact with the world, but only now have they become a part of our everyday reality.

Movies are a particularly strong influencing force in the cause of futurism. Directors and science fiction writers like  Gene RoddenberryStanley KubrickRidley Scott,  Christopher NolanJames Cameron are visionaries who imagined and created movies ahead of their times.

Predicting the future gadgets, inventions and technology have always been part of the fun of science fiction movies in the previous century, but just how many predictions have turned prophetic? And if not prophetic per se, then what burned in the imaginations until inventors could finally bring that amazing future they glimpsed into reality?

These are some of the movies made since the 1960’s that guessed it right about the latest gadgets and inventions.


1. 3D Printing Devices in Star Trek : 

Replicator, Universal Assembler, Food Synthesizer, etc. – these are some of the gadgets and technologies very familiar in Star Trek. These replicators in the movie could produce and reconstitute everything that can be needed out of pure energy. Today 3D printers are the latest cool invention which is blazing in popularity all over the world. The ability to build nearly anything in your own home is prompting a revolution in the way we think of consumer products.

As of 2015 companies like Nestlé are working on inventing technology similar to replicators or food synthesizers.


2. Tablets in 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968): 

Its no wonder why Stanley Kubrick‘s 2001: A Space Odyssey is considered as perhaps the best science fiction movie to date, at least in terms of scientific rigor and accuracy in its predictions. This 1968 movie had a screen play far better than most of today’s Hollywood hits that was rooted in depicting as realistic a future as possible. The very design and use of a gadget very similar to today’s tablets  can  be seen in a part of the movie. Similar technologies have been part of the 1980’s Star Trek series too.


3. Interactive gadgets in Star Trek: The Original Series and The Next Generation

These movies guessed it right in predicting about computers that can have intellectual conversation to a human being. This was imagined during a time when the input for any device had to be made by typing or using other function buttons. Today Siri & Google Now are some of the most downloaded apps in smart phones. The feature of interactive nature in these gadgets makes it look almost like an intelligent personal assistant or a even as a friend.

Just ask out loud “Computer?” and have it answer your questions intelligently and promptly.


4. Augmented reality glasses and Smart  Contact lenses in Star Trek,  AlienTotal Recall : 

Most of today’s inventions are the promises of yesterday’s science fictions and Augmented reality glasses are among those the most impatiently desired. Beginning with movies like Star Trek, Total Recall, The TerminatorMinority Report etc.,  such movies have included ideas like technology of augmented reality – wherein a device would augment sensory inputs into one’s current perception of reality by sound, video, GPS or graphics. This digital overlay provides information and additional tools for interacting with the world.

The best example for similar technology in gadgets used today would be Google Glass. The most practical in-use example would be a fighter pilot’s HUD (Head’s Up Display).


5. Tricorders in Star Trek:

A hand-held device that can scan, analyze and save data. These devices are among the science-fiction to reality gadgets that have joined us this 2015.  Today very similar devices are used for X-Ray diagnostics, or as sensors for radiation, EM signatures, wireless access,  and even as automatic safety devices. Scientists from major universities are trying to further advance this technology that can use more sophisticated electronic components such as chemical sensors.

Surprisingly, other attempts at duplicating a tricorder’s usefulness may perhaps one day be an integral part of your smartphone. Just wave your phone at something you’d like to know more about, and you will have all information involving that object straight from the worldwide electronic cloud.

6. Hoverboard from Back to the Future:

The year 2015 is a watershed moment in TV history, because it’s the future setting of this exciting Steven Spielberg movie trilogy. Some of its predictions did not come true (such as Japan corporations owning near everything) and others which… oddly were on-target (the price of gas, for example). Yet nothing captured the dreams of every child like the hoverboard. It was the glorious version of the future promised to them. It’s 2015! Where’s my hoverboard?!

Here’s Tony Hawk, pro skater par extraordinaire, trying it out now. Its inventors worked hard to bring it out precisely in 2015 in celebration of said movie. The Hendo Hoverboard tuns on electromagnetism, not antigravity (we haven’t figured that out yet) but who knows what the future may hold?

7. Self-Driving Cars from Batman (1989), Total Recall (1990), the Jetsons (1962), etc.

Self-driving cars have long been a staple of science fiction. If you don’t have to worry about the road, you can spend that time going to work and going to school doing something else with your time. The main problem has always been that it’s not safe. Human judgement causes accidents all the time (sleepy, distracted, drunk drivers, etc.) but we could not trust it to robot response times.

Only now, with GPS and more advanced sensors and smart car technology, has the safe, comfortable, and hassle-free autonomous car been a reality. In the future, we may see more and more of these cars. At the very least, it means you’re much less at risk from drunk and sleepy drivers.

starwars2001alienbladerunner startrek

There’s a saying that goes that “Art imitates Life“; but all too often it turns out that “Life imitates Art!


These are some of the Cult-Classic Science fiction movies which had a vision of the future that was all too compelling. They inspired dreamers through the decades about the inventions and gadgets that we would eventually use in our day-to-day lives.

1. Star Wars (1977)

2. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

3. Aliens (1979)

4. Blade Runner (1982)

5. Star Trek The Motion Picture  (1979)

What other movies do you think have been so influential in shaping our modern technolgy-based society?

Science fiction

Please leave us a comment if you would like to add your favorite gadget that was directly inspired by science fiction movies.


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